A Home Run: Recap of This Week’s Mexican Wolf Hearings: We asked for your support and we got it in spades! This week, the Fish and Wildlife Service hosted two public hearings in New Mexico and Arizona where the public was invited to provide comments regarding their recent proposal that will change the rules about how Mexican gray wolves are managed in the wild. Thank you to the many local supports who came to testify at those events. At both the hearings – one in Pinetop, AZ on Monday, and a second hearing in Truth or Consequences, NM on Wednesday — testimony supporting wolves outnumbered anti wolf testimony 2-1. For several hours, the Service heard from folks of all walks of life — ranchers, hunters, families, teachers – who spoke passionately about the value of having Mexican wolves in the wild. Wolf supporters were informed and articulate, talking about the different alternatives proposed and the details of each. All of your comments will go into the public record and will be evaluated by the USFWS as they decide how to manage critically endangered lobos. If this week has proved anything, it has shown that Defenders’ true strength lies in our committed and passionate members who represent this organization across our country. Thank you for your continued support as we continue to fight for the Mexican gray wolf.
60,000 Defenders Members Tell Idaho BLM to Stop Proposed Predator Derby: Last week we shared with you that a hunters’ rights group called Idaho for Wildlife is requesting permission from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to hold a multi-day predator killing contest starting in January 2015 on wide expanses of national public lands around Salmon, Idaho. As the BLM considers the request, we have a chance to submit public comments to the agency and tell it to deny Idaho for Wildlife’s egregious proposal. The good news – if there can be any from this event – is that already nearly 60,000 Defenders members have submitted comments to the BLM in opposition of the proposal. That is an amazing turnout in just over one week! In addition to your comments, Defenders is petitioning the BLM, requesting they deny the request on the grounds that the event would be damaging to the local ecosystem, harmful to threatened and sensitive species, incompatible with modern day scientific principles for wildlife management and offensive to the hunting concept of fair chase. Thank you, members, for your support! If you haven’t submitted your comments yet, you can do so here.
Making In-Roads In Idaho: Blaine County Idaho, the heart of wolf country and the location of Defenders’ Wood River Wolf Project, is taking a stand in favor of non-lethal wolf control. This week, news surfaced that Blaine County Commissioner, Larry Schoen, is asking that his county use non-lethal methods to prevent livestock-wolf conflict wherever possible before lethal methods are used. This is a huge paradigm shift for the state of Idaho, which for too long has simply relied on killing wolves to reduce potential conflict with livestock. Non-lethal solutions, like the ones we employ on our Wood River Wolf Project, are often cheaper and more sustainable long-term than lethal control. We are thrilled to see this management model start to take hold more broadly in Idaho. Keep up the good work, Blaine County!