Seven months have passed since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) last offered the public a chance to voice their opinion about management of the imperiled population of Mexican gray wolves fighting to survive in the southwestern United States. Last fall, the Service released a draft proposal that would instate new rules about issues like where the lobos are allowed to live, if and how the reintroduction program will be run, and who is allowed to shoot wolves and when. Although the proposed new rules allowed the wolves to roam over a bigger area, other provisions were short-sighted and anti-science, and could stop recovery for these highly endangered wolves in its tracks.
Now, the Service has published a revised draft of the rule that would govern management of America’s remaining lobos, and analyzed the effects of some of the new proposals. Unfortunately, this draft isn’t much better than the first one. In fact, many of the changes would still hamper recovery. Although it does provide the lobos with more room to roam, it would also allow more of these iconic and highly endangered wolves to be killed!
With this new draft proposal, the Service continues to ignore the best peer-reviewed wolf science available – including the recommendations of its own recovery team – and instead gives in to anti-wolf hysteria. As Defenders’ Director of Southwest Programs Eva Sargent said, “the new proposal is based on fear and politics, not science… When the best science tells you that the population can’t recover unless killing is reduced, it doesn’t make sense to come up with more reasons to do the opposite.”
Not only that, but the proposal also makes clear that Mexican wolves will not be allowed into habitats in the Grand Canyon ecoregion and in northern New Mexico/southern Colorado – places that scientists tell us are absolutely essential to their recovery. Enshrining this anti-science, anti-recovery approach in the new rules is nonsensical – and it makes it impossible for the Service to fulfill its legal responsibility to recover the Mexican gray wolf.
Clearly, the Service hasn’t heard what the majority of people in the southwest are saying about supporting recovery of Mexican gray wolves. Soon, there will be another chance for wolf supporters to speak up. If you can, join us at one of the upcoming hearings and speak out on behalf of los lobos and tell the Service that they deserve a real chance at recovery. If you can’t make it, be sure to submit your comments to the Service so they know you’re howling from afar. Make sure the Service hears you repeat what it knows the lobos need:
• An updated recovery plan and management rules that are based on science, not politics
• More breeding pairs released
• At least two additional core populations established in suitable habitat
Public informational session from 2:00p.m. to 4:00 p.m., followed by a public hearing from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., in Pinetop, Arizona, on Monday, August 11, 2014 at the Hon-Dah Conference Center, 777 Highway 260, Pinetop, Arizona 85935. Join Defenders and our partner groups in our howls-pitality suite for conversation, information and refreshments.
Public informational session from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., followed by a public hearing from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at the Civic Center, 400 West Fourth Street, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico 87901. Look for Defenders and our partner groups for conversation, information and refreshments.
Courtney Sexton is a Communications Associate for Defenders of Wildlife.