New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

A Study of the Economical Effects of the Re-Introduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf to the South-Weste

Team: 45

School: Grants High

Area of Science: Environmental Sciences


Interim: Project Definition:
Mexican Gray wolves, following the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, were listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service as an endangered species in 1976. Since then, the U.S. and Mexico has made many efforts to save this species from extinction, such as a bi-national captive breeding program. As this program began demonstrating increasing success through the 1980s, we began searching for appropriate areas of re-introduction for the Mexican wolves. In 1996, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was finalized and the Gila national forests in Arizona and New Mexico were deemed appropriate areas for re-introduction and in 1998, captive-reared Mexican wolves were released to the wild for the first time to the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. Since then, Mexican wolves have become almost an invasive species, as they depredate more and more livestock as their population grows swiftly, unmanaged.
The goal of this project is to measure the depredation caused by Mexican wolves over years if it continues at the same pace as it has been. Also, to make aware the United States the need to manage the Mexican wolves and their effect on livestock producers as their cattle is killed, costing them $700 each, depending on market price at the time, is another, minor goal of my project. Perhaps if enough attention is called to this problem, the cattle can be compensated for, or another method can be devised in saving Mexican wolves that is less detrimental to the livestock producers in these states that are affected by this. In other words, to, “nip the problem in the bud.”

Problem Solution:
To measure the depredation caused by Mexican Gray wolves, Netlogo will simulate the predator-prey relationship between the cattle and wolves using previous research to predict their populations’ increases and decreases over the next decade. After that is done, the statistics from the simulations will be put into graphic organizers to be studied in order for an equation to be made representing the relationship. Then, the equation will be used to compute cattle lost in ten years, and that number will be used to compute the money lost per cow using the current marketing price.
Progress to Date:
Currently, research on Mexican Gray wolves and the number depredated in previous years is being conducted and cross-referenced for the most accurate data possible. Even few wolves can cause serious economic loss for livestock producers. The data is being compiled and used to configure settings on the simulation started to display the wolves’ killing of livestock.

Expected Results:
After simulating and recording the results of this project, the results could be used by others concerned by this problem. Using this can promote awareness and accomplish proving this a problem a lot more efficiently and sooner than usual. Development of non-lethal management techniques could improve also. However, it is still difficult to confirm losses and estimate economic losses attributed to wolves, as some report the actual value lost to a ranch is far greater than the amount of compensation.


Team Members:

  Alexandria Rael

Sponsoring Teacher: Samuel Daunt

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