Environmentalists are blaming President Trump’s border wall after a Mexican gray wolf who was trapped in the U.S. by the barrier was found shot in the leg in New Mexico this week.
Named Mr. Goodbar, the wolf was released into the wild in 2020. He made headlines late last year when he was tracked roaming around the border wall, seemingly searching for a way across the man-made boundary before turning back north.
“It’s so awful that this young wolf blocked by a despicable border wall has now been shot and his own mobility curtailed with each step,” said Michael Robinson at the Center for Biological Diversity.
Mexican wolves are endangered and all but disappeared from the wild in the 1970s.
But thanks to a captive breeding and release program their population has been on the increase. The latest census found 186 wolves in the wild, with 72 in Arizona and 114 in New Mexico, or nearly double the rate of five years before.
Some have also been released into northern Mexico.
The rising numbers have led to new conflicts with people. A wolf named Anubis was killed earlier this month in the Kaibab National Forest near Flagstaff.
Mr. Goodbar’s foray to the border wall highlighted another ongoing conflict.
Environmental groups say the wall has ruined critical habitats and divided wildlife populations, hurting genetic diversity.
Researchers say several jaguars are also stranded on the northern side of the wall, and cannot thrive without access to the population in Mexico.