The small town of Reserve, New Mexico has placed a handful of wooden and mesh “kid cages” at school bus stops throughout the rural area due to recent sightings of Mexican gray wolves.

The wolves seemingly have parents worried for the safety of their children, but critics of the “kid cages” are sniffing out an ulterior motive.

<p>The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is the most rare subspecies of gray wolf in North America. It is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. Photo Credit: Joel Sartore, National Geographic</p>
“Kid cages” in rural New Mexico are being used as a political weapon against the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf, by ranchers hoping to hunt the animals. Photo Credit: Joel Sartore, National Geographic

Back in 1995, the wolves were reintroduced to the region, and it’s highly possible they will become illegal to kill in the near future.

Experts have been quick to point out the animals rarely attack people, and note there hasn’t been a single documented wolf attack in either New Mexico or Arizona.

“There’s been absolutely zero, nada, zilch attacks on humans by wolves in the Southwest, so I think these cages are a reaction to a non-problem,” Eva Sargent, director of Southwest programs for Defenders of Wildlife told Fox News.

“For some people, it’s a political ploy to bring attention to other things. A lot of the fear stirred up by these kid cages, at the base of it, is an anti-government fear and the wolves are standing in for that.”

Daniel MacNulty, a wolf researcher who’s been station in Yellowstone National Park for 18 years, believes the cages are “a publicity stunt designed to stroke opposition to Mexican wolf recovery in general and to the federal government in particular.”

Catron County Sheriff Shawn Menges said the structures are not new, but their purpose is under renewed scrutiny as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposes to extend Endangered Species Act protections for an estimated 75 Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona. (Courtesy: David Spady)
The purpose of “kid cages” is under scrutiny as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to extend protections for Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest. Photo Credit: David Spady

After the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a plan to renew the protection of wolf populations, photos of the kid cages began to surface via conservative groups.

The Mexican gray wolf is one of the most endangered wolf populations in the world, and only an estimated 75 of these animals exist in the Southwest.

Despite the number of gray wolves left in the United States, ranchers continue to persecute the endangered animals to protect their livestock.

It’s time to end the charade and work towards a hopeful future for the Mexican gray wolf. Despite the fact that approximately 69 percent of New Mexicans support the reintroduction of Mexican wolves after five decades of extinction in the wild, the wolves are in threat of a second extermination from the Southwest.

Sign the petition to protect the Mexican gray wolf here!

— Anthony Armentano, exclusive to Global Animal

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2 COMMENTS

  1. You can’t blame people for wanting to protect their kids. A teenager had a wolf bite his head in the midwest this year. Wolve generally don’t target people unless they get very hungry, but wolves are a learning animal. They will first test kids to see what they do, then they might nip, then….. See the wiki entry on wolf attacks on humans. It’s just science and it has been studied to death. We haven’t had wolves here in a long time..

    Bear in mind this wolf is just a gray wolf, they are very common and in no way endangered.