[Federal Register: May 5, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 86)]
[Page 24741-24742]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-ES-2010-N062; 20124-11130000-C2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Mexican Wolf 
(Canis lupus baileyi) Conservation Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: Conservation assessment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the Mexican Wolf Conservation Assessment (assessment). 
The assessment provides scientific information relevant to the 
conservation of the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) in Arizona and 
New Mexico as a component of the Service's gray wolf (Canis lupus) 
recovery efforts. Not required by the Endangered Species Act (Act), the 
assessment is a nonregulatory document that does not require action by 
any party.

ADDRESSES: An electronic copy of the assessment is on our Web site at 
http: //www.fws.gov/southwest/es/Library/. You may also obtain a paper 
copy by contacting Maggie Dwire, by U.S. mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office, 2105 Osuna NE, 
Albuquerque, NM 87113; by telephone at 505-761-4783; by facsimile at 
505-346-2542; or by e-mail at Maggie_Dwire@fws.gov.



Listed Entity

    The Mexican wolf was listed as an endangered subspecies of gray 
wolf in 1976 (41 FR 17736, April 28, 1976). In 1978, the Service listed 
the gray wolf species in North America south of Canada as endangered, 
except in Minnesota where it was listed as threatened (43 FR 9607, 
March 9, 1978). The 1978 rangewide listing of the gray wolf species 
subsumed the subspecies listing; however, we stated in the preamble to 
the rule that the Service would continue to recognize the Mexican wolf 
as a valid biological subspecies for purposes of research and 
conservation (43 FR 9607). After the 1978 listing of the gray wolf in 
the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), the 50 CFR 17.11(h) List of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife did not explicitly refer to an 
entity called the ``Mexican wolf.'' Due to the Mexican wolf's previous 
listed status as a subspecies, we have continued to refer to the gray 
wolf in the southwestern United States as the ``Mexican wolf.'' Today, 
the gray wolf has been delisted in Idaho and Montana and portions of 
Oregon, Washington, and Utah (74 FR 15123, April 2, 2009). It is listed 
as threatened in Minnesota and remains endangered throughout the 
remaining coterminous United States and Mexico, except where designated 
as nonessential experimental populations (63 FR 1752, January 12, 1998, 
and 74 FR 15123).


    The conservation and recovery of species are primary goals of the 
Service's endangered species program. The Mexican wolf historically 
inhabited the southwestern United States and portions of Mexico until 
it was virtually eliminated in the wild by private and governmental 
predator eradication efforts in the late 1800s and early to mid-1900s. 
Conservation and recovery efforts to ensure the survival of the Mexican 
wolf were initially guided by the 1982 Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan (U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service 1982) (recovery plan), which recommended the 
establishment of a captive breeding program and the reintroduction of 
Mexican wolves to the wild. Both of these recommendations have been 
implemented. Today an international captive breeding program houses 
more than 300 wolves, and a wild population of approximately 42 wolves 
(as of the official 2009 end-of-year count) inhabits Arizona and New 
    Although the 1982 recovery plan was instrumental in guiding the 
inception of the Mexican wolf program in the southwest, the plan 
requires updating to provide current guidance for the reintroduction 
and recovery effort. We have initiated revisions to the 1982 recovery 
plan, but have been unable to finalize a revision due to various 
constraints. We are working to resolve these constraints to reinitiate 
a full revision of the recovery plan, and are undertaking this 
conservation assessment as an interim step.
    This assessment provides the type of information typically 
contained in a recovery plan, including the listing history of the 
Mexican wolf and gray wolf, current species' biology and

[[Page 24742]]

ecology, an assessment of current threats to the Mexican wolf in the 
wild, and an overview and assessment of current conservation and 
recovery efforts. However, the assessment is not intended to serve as a 
revised recovery plan for the Mexican wolf. The assessment does not 
contain recovery criteria, site-specific management actions, or time 
and cost estimates, the three statutorily required elements of a 
recovery plan (16 U.S.C. 1533(f)(1)(B)), nor does it contain 
recommendations for the future of our Mexican wolf program in the 
southwest. Social and economic aspects of wolf conservation are not 
addressed in the document. It is a nonregulatory document intended 
solely as a compilation of current scientific information relevant to 
Mexican wolf conservation that may be used by any interested party. We 
intend to use the document as one of many information sources guiding 
our continuing conservation and recovery efforts in the southwest.
    We made the draft conservation assessment available for public 
review and comment for 60 days (74 FR 913, January 9, 2009). We also 
conducted a peer review of the assessment during this time. After 
consideration of public and peer review comments, we made revisions to 
the assessment and provide the final document to the public with this 

    Authority:  The authority for this action is the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: March 16, 2010.
Benjamin N. Tuggle,
Regional Director, Region 2.
[FR Doc. 2010-10470 Filed 5-4-10; 8:45 am]