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Canis lupus baileyi, the Mexican gray wolf, is back in the Madrean Sky Islands of Mexico. The last wild Mexican gray wolves were captured from the Sierra Madre in 1980 in an attempt to preserve this southwestern sub-species, which once was common and roamed from Colorado to central Mexico and over much of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

On Oct. 11th, 2011 5 wolves (2 males and three females) were released in the Sierra San Luis in far northeast Sonora. See more photos from…

Reports, Papers, Journal Articles

Oct. 5th, 2011 finding by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl (Glaucidium ridgwayi cactorum) does not warrant protection from the Endangered Species Act.

"We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl (Glaucidium brasilianum cactorum) as threatened or endangered and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as…

Article

Sept. 12, 2011 - AZ Game and Fish Press Release

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been informed that Mexican authorities plan to release five Mexican wolves this month at an undisclosed ranch location in northeastern Sonora, Mexico.

While the department does not know the specific date or other details at this time, it has received indications that the wolves being released will be fitted with satellite tracking collars.

Game and Fish is currently…

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Today a new photo from May 26th, 2011 of an Ocelot in the Huachuca Mountains was released by the AZ Game and Fish Dept. The photo was given to AZGFD by two hunters who had set up an automated trail camera. The press release (attached here) says AZGFD will show the photo to biologists to determine if it is the same individual photographed on Feb. 8 of 2011.

After looking the photos over briefly it is becomes apparent that the 2 separate photo records are from the same individual. This…

Article

After half a century's absence of verifiable evidence, there is now a flurry of confirmed ocelots sightings in Arizona! In just over a year period 3 ocelots have surfaced - one road killed near Globe, one camera trap photo from Cochise County, and the last one in Feb. 2011 treed by dogs in the Huachuca Mountains. This latest image, in my opinion, appears to be an older individual and has probably been around for a while.

Perhaps there has been slow…

Article

ALTAR, Mexico - The police chiefs met in the dusty plaza with a federal official clutching a black bag filled with pesos: $40,000 in government pensions for the senior citizens living in the pueblos of the nearby foothills.

A convoy of seven vehicles rumbled into the plaza, the trucks squeezing between taco and T-shirt vendors who gawked at the 60 or so federal and state police officers toting assault rifles.

Read the rest in the AZ Daily Star

Also read this excellent…

Article

A massive gunbattle between rival drug and migrant trafficking gangs near the U.S. border Thursday left 21 people dead and at least six others wounded, prosecutors said.

The fire fight occurred in a sparsely populated area about 12 miles from the Arizona border, near the city of Nogales, that is considered a prime corridor for immigrant and drug smuggling.

The Sonora state Attorney General's Office said in a statement that nine people were captured by police at the scene of the…

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Buffelgrass has become well known as an invasive exotic species, but many other dangerous exotics threaten parts of the southwest and have garnered much less attention. One in particular comes to mind from my experiences: Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii). This mustard has an affinity for sandy or bottomland soil in the middle and especially lower elevation Sonoran Desert. It has spread rapidly across large areas of southwestern Arizona and southeastern California. I've…

Article

The state fired a worker Friday for lying to federal investigators about the fact that the U.S.'s last known wild jaguar was lured to his capture and for concocting a cover-up story, officials said.

The employee, Thornton W. Smith, 40, said biologist Emil McCain told him he had put jaguar scat at two sites near the area where Macho B was captured a year ago southwest of Tucson, the Arizona Game and Fish Department revealed late Friday.

"We made a different story to protect the…

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It's becoming common knowledge that buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) is a huge problem for native vegetation in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona. In Sonora the problem is much worse. Vast areas of Sonora are over-run with buffelgrass. Ranchers in Sonora continue to blade and till desert and thornscrub to plant this invasive grass, which helps as cattle forage primarily only in the short-term. Once established the grass becomes less favored by cows unless there is little else…

Article

Half of this story is now being told - the intentional capture of Macho B by AZ Game and Fish. The other half of the story, which may be impossible to prove now (ironically due to Fish and Wildlife ordering the wrong kind of necropsy), is that the capture and associated stress, drugs, foot, and canine tooth damage led to the death of Macho B. The decision to euthanize Macho B may have been warranted by the time of re-capture.

Macho B had been in a foot snare for an unknown amount of…

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Sky Island Alliance in 2009 has started a multi-year biodiversity assessment of the Sonoran Sky Islands called the Madrean Archipelago Biodiversity Assessment (MABA). This project is much needed as there is a dirth of information about the region. Aaron Flesch is working with Sky Island Alliance on this project and is already collecting bird, plant, and other data.

MABA data is housed in a MySQL database connected to the web for public access. You can interact with these data at…