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Editorial: Wolves are here, so hearing should be about their future

By AZ Republic Editorial board, September 20, 2013 (posted 9/22/13)

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Our View: Debate will be tough, but Arizona should host it.

The reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves to Arizona is a victory that requires more nurturing to become a true triumph. We need more wolves and an expanded recovery area.

Arizona’s role is undeniable. Primary releases occur in our state, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department played a key role in management efforts.

It is ridiculous that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not schedule hearings in Arizona to discuss proposed changes in the program.

Hearings are planned for this month in Washington, D.C., and next month in Sacramento, Calif., and Albuquerque, N.M.

Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain and Rep. Paul Gosar sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewel requesting a hearing in our state. Arizona’s Game and Fish Commission wants the same thing.

It makes sense.

Establishing a healthy population of lobos in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico has been fraught with controversy.

Some ranchers don’t like accommodating the public’s desire to restore wolves to public land that is also used for grazing.

Some environmentalists are dissatisfied with wolf management that resulted in many wolves being killed or removed.
A hearing in Arizona means passionate debate. That’s fine. Nobody said this was easy.

Arizona deserves a continued voice in the worthwhile effort to reintroduce Mexican wolves.

This editorial was published by the AZ Republic.
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PLEASE TAKE ACTION FOR MEXICAN WOLVES
Below are several things that you can do to help.

(1)  Speak out for wolves at the public hearing in Albuquerque on October 4.  This will be the only hearing that will address the rule changes that directly affect Mexican gray wolves.

(2)  If you cannot make it to Albuquerque, please submit comments to the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the proposed changes to the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction rule and encourage NM members of Congress to stand for wolves.

(3)  Please submit a letter to the Editor of the AZ Republic to ensure the future of critically endangered Mexican gray wolves today!

One letter from you can reach thousands of people and will also likely be read by decision-makers.  Tips and talking points are below, but please write in your own words, from your own experience. Don’t try to include all the talking points in your letter.

Talking points

Start by thanking the AZ Republic for this editorial.

The USFWS should move forward with allowing new wolves to be released throughout the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. The Mexican gray wolf is the most endangered mammal in the U.S. with only about 75 in the wild.  Additional wolves must be released into the wild now to increase the genetic health of the species. Numerous wolves are in captive breeding facilities around the country, prepared for, and awaiting, release.

Wolves once lived throughout Arizona and New Mexico and played a critical role in keeping the balance of nature in place. We need to restore this important animal that has been missing for too long.

Prominent wolf experts have advocated restoring wolves to their natural role in the Grand Canyon region for many years.  The Grand Canyon region, which extends from southern Utah to the Mogollon Rim, contains some of the last best places for wolves.

Mexican wolves have been on the ground in Arizona for 15 years, and are struggling because of artificial boundaries and political interference.  Wolves need freedom from boundaries. Given room to roam, the wolves will establish themselves in suitable areas with adequate game. The USFWS proposal does not allow wolves to establish new packs and populations in additional areas that are essential to their recovery.

The livestock industry has a responsibility to share public lands with native wildlife like wolves. According to the US Dept of Agriculture, in 2010 only .23% of cattle deaths and 4% of all sheep deaths were due to any type of predator, which includes a lot more than just wolves.There are many proven-effective methods for avoiding conflict.

Mexican wolves belong here. The USFWS should hold a hearing in AZ, and if they do not, Arizonans who care about the survival and recovery of these beautiful, intelligent animals should attend the hearing in Albuquerque on October 4. Information is at mexicanwolves.org.


Make sure you:

Thank the paper for publishing this editorial.

Include something about who you are and why you care: E.g. “I am mother, outdoors person, teacher, business owner, scientific, religious, etc.)

Provide your name, address, phone number and address.  The paper won’t publish these, but they want to know you are who you say you are.

Submit your letter here.

Thank you for speaking out to save Mexican wolves!

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