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News Release: Service Extends Comment Period for Gray Wolf Proposals, Announces Public Hearings to Solicit Additional Stakeholder Input

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, September 5, 2013  (posted 09/06/13 - updated 09/14/13))

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Contacts:
Gavin Shire (703) 358-2649 gavin_shire@fws.gov


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today extended the public comment period until October 28 on two proposed rules to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) from the List of Threatened and Endangered Species, while maintaining protection and expanding recovery efforts for the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) in the Southwest, where it remains endangered. The Service also announced a series of public hearings to ensure all stakeholders have an opportunity to comment.

The first public hearing will be held in Washington, DC, on September 30, followed closely by hearings in Sacramento, CA, on October 2, and Albuquerque, NM, on October 4. Each public hearing will include a short informational presentation. The Albuquerque hearing will be a combined hearing on the gray wolf delisting proposal and the proposal to revise the existing nonessential experimental population designation of the Mexican wolf. The hearings are part of the Service’s continuing efforts to provide an open and comprehensive public process for the two wolf rules and will afford members of the public a forum by which to register their views. (emphasis ours)

To learn more about the proposed rules, the details of the public hearings, and for links to submit comments to the public record, visit www.fws.gov/graywolfrecovery062013.html.


This News Release was posted on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's website on Spetember 5, 2013.


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Plan to come to Albuquerque on October 4 for the hearing.
Thousands of wolf supporters will show NM's Senators and the US Fish and Wildlife Service the overwhelming support for Mexican wolf recovery.

And please submit comments on the USFWS proposal today and ask your friends and family to do the same.

Personalized comments are most effective, but you can also copy and paste the  following key points:

1. The good change is to allow direct releases of Mexican wolves throughout the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.  The USFWS should put the rest of their proposed rule on hold and speed up approval for more direct releases in expanded areas.

This change has been recommended by experts for over 10 years and can be made faster and with less bureaucratic delay than any other part of the proposed rule.

2. The proposed rule effectively prevents wolves returning to the Grand Canyon region, including northern Arizona and southern Utah, or to northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. The USFWS should eliminate boundaries to the wolves’ movement.

Scientists say some of the last best places for wolves are in these areas, but currently wolves who set up territories outside the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area are recaptured and moved back. Under the proposed change, the USFWS will recapture Mexican wolves just for going outside of the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area whether they establish territories or not. Additional populations of Mexican wolves are necessary to their recovery and genetic health, as is the ability for wolves to move between populations.

Capturing and moving wolves is always a risky business that can result in death or trauma to the wolf. And a bigger box is still a box. 

3. The USFWS should not re-designate Mexican gray wolves as experimental, non-essential. By labeling all of the wild wolves as “nonessential” the USFWS ignores science and the reality of 15 years of experience with reintroducing wolves. 

The USFWS claims that even if all of the 75 wolves in the wild are wiped out this is not “likely to appreciably reduce the likelihood” of recovery of Mexican wolves in the wild. When the current rule declared wolves in the wild “nonessential” there were only 11 wolves, recently released from a captive breeding program, and they made up only 7% of all Mexican wolves in the world.

Now the 75 wolves in the wild have up to four generations of experience in establishing packs and raising pups and are over 22% of all of the Mexican wolves in the world. And after four generations of captive breeding with few releases, scientists warn that there may be serious genetic problems making captive wolves less able to thrive in the wild.

The fourth generation wild lobos are not expendable and are essential to recovering this unique subspecies of wolf. 

4. The USFWS needs to quit stalling and complete a comprehensive recovery plan – and let the public see it – at the same time as or before changing the current rule (except for allowing wolves to be reintroduced into additional suitable places). 

USFWS admits that their present, typewritten, 1982 recovery plan is not scientifically sound and does not meet current legal requirements – yet in its proposed rule USFWS continues to emphasize a woefully inadequate population of only 100 wolves in the wild.

When USFWS published the current rule in 1998 they said they expected to put out a new recovery plan for the public to comment on later that year; 15 years later, there still is no scientific or legally adequate recovery plan!

The proposed rule puts the cart before the horse and should come with or after – not before – an updated recovery plan

USFWS’s decisions on the proposed rule can help Mexican wolves finally thrive or can push them closer to extinction.   Please comment today, and ask others to do the same. 

You can submit your comments online here:http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056-0001


Or by mail addressed to: 
Public Comments Processing -Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056 
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM
Arlington, VA 22203


Thank you for giving these special wolves a voice in their future.

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Photo credit:  Amber Legras