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New Documents: New Mexico Rancher Who Pleaded Guilty to Bludgeoning Endangered Wolf Admitted Trapping, Beating One More

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— New documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity show that a New Mexico rancher confessed to trapping and beating at least one other endangered Mexican gray wolf in 2015. In 2018 rancher Craig Thiessen pleaded guilty to brutalizing a wolf he had trapped in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Thiessen’s 2018 plea agreement for bludgeoning the Mexican wolf, named ‘Mia Tuk’ by an Albuquerque schoolchild, made no mention of crimes involving other wolves. But a Sept. 2, 2020, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report on another wolf from the same pack says its skull was found near Thiessen’s grazing allotment.

“The location where the Mexican gray wolf skull was located was near the allotment leased to [REDACTED] who was later convicted of having killed Mexican gray wolf #1385. [REDACTED] admitted to having trapped two (2) wolves, beating them into submission with a shovel, and then releasing the wolves back into the wild …It is suspected that Mexican gray wolf #1279 may have been one (1) of these wolves associated with this event,” the report said.

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Media Contacts:

Endangered Species: James Quirk, Media Specialist, jquirk@biologicaldiversity.org, (971) 717-6411
Climate: Nyshie Perkinson, Media Specialist, nperkinson@biologicaldiversity.org, (718) 928-5148
Public Lands, National Monuments and Borderlands:
Mary K. Reinhart, Media Specialist – mkreinhart@biologicaldiversity.org, (602) 320-7309
Oceans, Offshore Drilling, Arctic: Steve Jones, Media Specialist – sjones@biologicaldiversity.org, (415) 305-3866
Pesticides, Toxics, Air Pollution, Industrial Agriculture and Environmental Health: Andy Parker, Media Specialist – aparker@biologicaldiversity.org, (503) 310-5569
Population and Sustainability: Kim Dinan, kdinan@biologicaldiversity.org, (513)535-1306

Patrick Sullivan, Media Director, psullivan@biologicaldiversity.org, (415) 632-5316
Russ McSpadden, Creative Media Specialist – Media Photos, rmcspadden@biologicaldiversity.org

Banner photo Center for Biological Diversity; photo of jaguar by Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity