22 August 2014 Wolf Weekly Wrap Up Posted by: Melanie Gade | 8 comments | Share: Still Time to Submit Comments In Opposition To Harmful Mexican Wolf Rule: We’ve been keeping you updated here about a recent proposal from the Fish and Wildlife Service that will change the rules about how Mexican gray wolves are managed in the wild. This proposed rule would ultimately allow more wolves to be killed, and would keep them out of some of the best remaining habitat. Last week, our members came out to testify against this rule at the Service’s public hearings in Pinetop, AZ and Truth or Consequences, NM. We had incredible success with pro-wolf supporters outnumbering anti-wolf opponents 2-1 at both events! But even if you are not a local Arizona or New Mexico resident, we still need your help preventing this proposal from moving forward. We need you to submit comments to the Service in opposition of this harmful rule change. Tell the Service not to allow more killing, but instead do what it knows the lobos need: Complete and implement an updated recovery plan and management rules that are based on science, not politics Release more breeding pairs into the wild Establish at least two additional core populations in suitable habitat All of your comments will go into the public record and will be evaluated by the Service as it decides how to manage critically endangered lobos. Discussion over Montana’s Wolf Conservation Stamp Heats Up: Last week Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) hosted an open forum for the public to comment on the agency’s new proposal which would establish a stamp to fund wolf conservation in Montana. Defenders believes this stamp could offer a truly unique opportunity for wolf conservationists to support non-lethal wolf programs in the state. This sentiment was expressed by dozens of wolf advocates who testified at the hearing in support of the stamp but with suggested changes. This proposal is far from finalized… Anti-wolf folks also showed up and made clear that they don’t want anyone but hunters, anglers and trappers to have a stake in wildlife management in Montana. They argued that a wolf conservation stamp would allow non-hunters and wolf supporters to influence FWP’s agenda. But the truth is, wildlife is a public trust and the entire public deserves a say in decisions made by wildlife agencies. Currently, hunting and fishing dollars are the main source of funding for FWP but this funding is declining. A wolf stamp is an opportunity for FWP to raise funding from people who love wildlife but may not want to pay for a hunting or fishing license. Defenders believes that if implemented correctly, this wolf stamp could be a model for other states wrestling with declining revenues and a growing non-hunting public. We’ve already submitted comments to FWP – and asked you to do the same – asserting that we strongly support the proposal if and only if ALL proceeds from the stamp go towards non-lethal wolf conservation and that an accurate annual reporting of funds spent is made available to the public. FWP needs to know that wolf supporters will support this stamp, but only if all stamp proceeds fund non-lethal wolf conservation in the state. Our View: What is a Coywolf? Recently there have been several articles in news outlets including the New York Times and Washington Post using the term “coywolf” to talk about a hybrid wolf and coyote animal. Some articles have even insinuated that this “coywolf” is a new species! The bottom line? “Coywolf” is a term being sensationalized by the media. From a scientific perspective, all these news stories are describing interbreeding – something that has taken place for hundreds of years. And the most scientifically accurate term to describe many products of this interbreeding is “eastern coyote,” not “coywolf.” Eastern coyotes inhabit many areas of the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast, have been breeding with wolves and dogs for years. This does not make them a new species — they are just coyotes with a few wolf and dog genes! Melanie Gade, Communications Specialist Melanie handles press coverage for wildlife in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains as well as Defenders' national work on the Endangered Species Act.