EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A Mexican gray wolf that recently shed light on the effects the border wall has on wildlife has been shot and now needs an amputation.
The wolf, nicknamed “Mr. Goodbar,” walked for five days in an attempt to get around a section of the border wall last November in New Mexico, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit that works to protect endangered species.
Mr. Goodbar is one of nearly 200 wolves that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracks with GPS collars.
On Wednesday, wildlife officers found Mr. Goodbar wounded but alive. They said he suffered a gunshot to the knee on his lower right leg.
The Center said he’ll survive and be released into the wild after he recovers, but not before having all or part of his leg amputated.
“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,” Michael Robinson, Senior Conservation Advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a news release. “Mr. Goodbar’s painful experiences illustrate the inhospitable world we’ve created for Mexican gray wolves and other vulnerable animals.”
The Center learned from Fish and Wildlife Services that from Nov. 23-27, Mr. Goodbar went from an area near Las Cruces, New Mexico, southwest toward Mexico, before coming upon the border wall. The GPS tracker showed that he walked 23 miles west along the border wall, but ended up turning back toward the Gila National Forest, where was spotted in early January, roughly 150 miles from the border.
When wildlife officers spotted him on Wednesday, they shot him from a helicopter with a tranquilizer dart and flew him to the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo, where he’s recovering.
Meantime, the shooting is the subject of a federal investigation since Mexican gray wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act. The maximum penalty for violating the Act is one year in jail and a $50,000 fine.
“We hope the criminal who shot Mr. Goodbar will be brought to justice,” Robinson said. “Here’s hoping Mr. Goodbar will be the wiliest lobo on three paws once he’s released, and that we can change federal policies that put these beautiful and vital animals at risk.”
The Center said it joined federal and state agencies, other conservation organizations and anonymous individuals in offering a $49,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction for illegally killing a Mexican wolf. The Center added that a similar reward might be available for information that leads to a conviction for this attempted killing. Anyone with information should call 1 (844) 397-8477 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Goodbar was born in the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas, though his age was not immediately known. He was released into the Arizona wilderness in 2020.