27 October 2011 Can’t Live Without ‘Em: Mexican Wolves Posted by: John Motsinger | 1 comment | Share: Only 50 Mexican wolves survive in the wild, and now they're under attack in Congress. A weekly homage to endangered species, large and small Earlier this year, we saw an unprecedented level of attacks on individual species orchestrated by politicians trying to undermine the Endangered Species Act for the benefit of special interests (see Defenders’ comprehensive report, Assault on Wildlife). So this summer, we interviewed several wildlife experts from outside Defenders during their recent visit to Washington, D.C., to talk about current threats to imperiled wildlife and the importance of upholding the Endangered Species Act. Saving Mexican Wolves Kim Crumbo of the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council was a Navy SEAL and did two combat tours in Vietnam, so he knows what it’s like to try to survive in the wild on your wits alone. That might explain why he was drawn to defending Mexican wolves–one of the rarest, most endangered species in the entire world. As Kim points out, only 50 Mexican wolves survive today in the wild along the border between Arizona and New Mexico. But that hasn’t stopped politicians like Rep. Steve Pearce (and, more recently, Sen. Orrin Hatch) from trying to derail the Mexican wolf recovery program. In February, Pearce tried to tack on a rider to must-pass legislation to fund the federal government that would have zeroed out funding for Mexican wolves. Then he proposed the same amendment again during FY2012 budget negotiations this summer. Without adequate funding for the recovery program, Mexican wolves will almost certainly be doomed to extinction, and the potential benefits they can bring will be lost. Mexican wolves, like all gray wolves, play a critical role in keeping wild prey species in check and maintaining healthy ecosystems. They are part of our national wildlife heritage and have also become an important cultural symbol across many parts of the Southwest. Enterprising individuals are finding ways to make money by offering wildlife tours in wolf country. Local businesses have started promoting wolf awareness and conservation. And many ranchers are learning to coexist with wolves by employing nonlethal techniques to prevent conflict with their livestock . Fortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has convened a group of stakeholders including scientists, wildlife experts and ranchers to draw up a new recovery plan that will ensure the long-term survival of the species. Now we need to make sure that politicians representing special interests in the livestock community do not sabotage this effort before it’s given a chance to work. In a 2008 poll, 69 percent of New Mexicans and 77 percent of Arizonans supported the idea of restoring wolves the landscape. Clearly, some members of Congress need to start listening to all of their constituents. Learn more about Mexican wolves on Defenders’ website and blog. One Response to “Can’t Live Without ‘Em: Mexican Wolves” Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential. California’s Rim Fire: Opportunities Rise from the Ashes After California’s devastating Rim Fire, will officials take the opportunity to give nature a chance to fully recover?