A Mexican gray wolf that received a gunshot wound finally returned to the wild – True, one foot less.
The wolf, known as Mr. Goodbar, was shot dead in January and arrived at a veterinary clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 27, according to a city press release. Veterinarians confirmed that Mr Goodbar had a broken leg and decided that amputation was the best option, the release said.
Carol Bradford, senior veterinarian at ABQ BioPark, said Mr Goodbar probably battled the trauma in the wild for weeks before he was rescued by biologists.
“It’s always amazing how cruel these animals are and how they can survive in the wild with such trauma,” Bradford said in a release.
Mr. Goodbar underwent a smooth recovery and was returned by biologists to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on February 9th. That day, they “released it into their native habitat,” the release said.
Despite the amputation, Bradford said, Mr. Goodbar has a good chance of surviving in the wild – several other three-legged wolves have been able to roam, hunt and mate successfully after injury.
Mr. Goodbar was previously watched walking along a border fence in New Mexico for five days in late November, passing 23 miles trying to move south, McClatchy News reported. He eventually gave up and was stationed by scientists further north, near the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.
Mr. Goodbar was probably looking for a new couple when he was hindered by a wall, McClatchy News reports. Interlocutors have previously warned that fencing at the border is harmful to local wildlife, harms the natural habitat of wolves and hampering efforts to rebuild the population, reports the El Paso Times.
Mr. Goodbar’s recovery is promising given his endangered animal status. But not all wolves are so lucky – another gray wolf, Anubis, was shot in Arizona earlier this year, according to El Paso Times.
In the past ABQ BioPark has treated other injured wolves. Bradford said most of the damage she sees came from traps, and that two wolves from individual packs that were injured from the trap were taken to the clinic in late 2019. After that, both wolves were successfully re-released into the wild, the release said.
There used to be thousands of Mexican gray wolves in the U.S., but many of them were eliminated by the mid-1970s, according to “Wildlife Defenders”. Only about 250 wolves are in the wild, according to the Center for the Endangerment of Wolves.