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Groups ask fed to replace photo of killed wolf.

Sixteen conservation and animal welfare groups called on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service last week to replace the prominent photograph of an endangered Mexican gray wolf on its website because the animal was trapped and inadvertently killed by the agency. The groups point to the use of the killed wolf's likeness as symbolic of the agency's mishandling of the reintroduction program for Mexican gray wolves across the American Southwest.

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One of only about 50 Mexican gray wolves in the wild, the so-called "poster wolf"--an alpha female researchers had named Brunhilda--died as a result of stress and overheating only a few weeks after she was trapped and taken into captivity in 2005. Brunhilda was trapped for having left the arbitrary bounds of the Mexican wolf recovery area. Environmentalists contend that her death, as well as the inadvertent deaths of ten other Mexican gray wolves-could have been prevented if the Fish and Wildlife Service had followed its own scientists' recommendations to overhaul the agency's wolf reintroduction program.

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a responsibility to accurately portray its management of the Mexican gray wolf," said Michael Robinson of the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity. "The agency's heavy-handed tactics have resulted in dozens of Mexican gray wolf deaths and a struggling population."

"The Fish and Wildlife Service originally exterminated the gray wolf from the western United States on behalf of the livestock industry, and the Bush administration has led the agency back to its bad old days," he added.

Source: Biological Diversity

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Title Annotation:THIS WEEK
Author:Scheer, Roddy
Publication:Our Planet
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 30, 2008
Words:256
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