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February 1, 2007 www.abqjournal.com
Gray Wolves Kill Horse in Catron
SILVER CITY— A horse belonging to a Catron County family has been killed by a pack of endangered Mexican gray wolves, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Mark Miller and his family returned to their home on the Diamond Creek in southwestern New Mexico about three weeks ago to find the remains of their horse. Tracks show the wolves apparently chased the horse from a pasture into a corral and killed it.
Miller said his family has tried yelling at the wolves, throwing rocks and installing noisemakers, but the Aspen Pack— particularly the alpha male— continues to be problematic.
Miller said personnel with the wolf reintroduction team responded quickly to the report of the horse kill, but he believes they might be just giving the family "lip service."
Elizabeth Slown, a Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman based in Albuquerque, said attempts by the team to scare the male wolf from Miller's property haven't been successful and that helicopters have searched for the wolf three times in an effort to dart it.
"It hasn't worked," Slown said. "We would like to try trapping it, but we are waiting for the weather to clear up a bit. We know the wolf is a problem because hazing hasn't modified its behavior."
Miller and his wife said they are concerned about their 8-year-old daughter's safety. They also have plans to establish a camp on their property for kids interested in learning about the outdoors and hunting.
"We're not against predators, but this pack is literally on our doorstep," Mary Miller said.
Federal biologists began releasing wolves on the Arizona-New Mexico border in 1998 to re-establish the species in part of its historic range after it had been hunted to the brink of extinction in the early 1900s. A recent survey showed 29 wolves in the wild in New Mexico and 30 in Arizona.
The Aspen Pack was removed from the Blue River area of Arizona because of similar problems and was moved to the Gila Wilderness in 2005. The animals seemed to be doing well until October, when they started becoming more aggressive.
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