The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week ordered the death of a female Mexican gray wolf after the animal was discovered hanging around a group of domestic dogs.
The lone 4-year-old female was shot and killed in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest on Wednesday after she was apparently attracted to domestic dogs at a private residence. The female had earlier this year mated with a dog and given birth to a litter of five hybrid pups. Four of the pups were euthanized and the fifth has not been found.
The five-year Mexican wolf reintroduction program has so far failed to recover the animals, and more wolves are being held in captive facilities than are free in the wild. Wildlife biologists say that when female wolves fail to find a male wolf as a mate, they pair with domestic dogs, producing wolf-dog hybrids that are usually put down by wildlife authorities.