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Editorial: House should listen to public on wolf issue

Our View: Don't follow in Senate's mean-spirited footsteps, AZ Republic 3/3/14 (posted 3/5/14)

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By Editorial board The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona’s Senate passed a trio of ill-conceived measures aimed at undermining efforts to reintroduce Mexican gray wolves to our state. The House should not go along.

The argument that wolf reintroduction is a threat to livestock and big-game hunters is overwrought. Cattle ranchers lease federal land for their livestock. The American people own the land, and the public supports restoring wolves to the wild.

A compensation program pays ranchers who lose livestock to wolves, and new proposals would pay them simply for sharing their leased land with wolves. Ranchers are not being unduly burdened.

Wolves were extirpated from the wild at government expense for ranchers’ convenience. Attitudes toward predators have changed, and public-land ranchers need to change with the times.

Out of deference to ranchers, reintroduction was set up to give Mexican wolves a lower level of protection under the Endangered Species Act.

SB 1211 would drop that further, even though the wolf population is growing so slowly that some say it may be doomed.

SB 1212 appropriates $250,000 from the general fund for litigation expenses if the program is expanded.

A resolution, SCR 1006, calls for shifting wolf management from federal to state control, limiting the number of wolves in the wild and locating wolves to the mountains of Mexico.

The feds will ignore it.

C’mon, lawmakers, play fair. Wolves are not the enemy. They are a part of Arizona’s stunning natural heritage.

This trio of special-interest measures does a disservice to goals of species diversity that are embraced by a broad range of Arizonans.

This editorial was published by the Arizona Republic.

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Please Act Today to stop these
anti-wolf bills!

You can help by contacting your Arizona House Members and submitting a letter to the editor of the Arizona Republic.


If you don’t live in AZ, you can still help by submitting a letter to the editor.

The letters to the editor page is one of the most widely read, influential parts of the newspaper. One letter from you can reach thousands of people and will also likely be read by decision-makers. Tips and talking points for writing your letter are below, but please write in your own words, from your own experience. These are also good talking points for contacting your legislators.

Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points
  • At last official count, only 37 Mexican gray wolves were found in AZ, and only 83 were found total in the wild, making them critically endangered. We have a moral obligation to do everything we can to ensure their recovery and not push them closer to extinction as these bills aim to do.

  • The proposed legislation will waste taxpayer money on litigation to impede wolf recovery and embarrass the state by attempting to illegally override federal laws that protect endangered species.

  • Polling showed 77% of Arizona voters support the Mexican wolf reintroduction. Legislation to impede wolf recovery is a slap in the face to the majority of voters who want wolves to thrive.

  • People who care about wolves should call on their AZ House members to oppose anti-wolf measures. Information about how to do that is at mexicanwolves.org.

  • Wildlife biologists believe that Mexican wolves will improve the overall health of the Southwest and its rivers and streams – just as the return of gray wolves to Yellowstone has helped restore balance to its lands and waters.

  • Wolves generate economic benefits - a University of Montana study found that visitors who come to see wolves in Yellowstone contribute roughly $35.5 million annually to the regional economy.

  • Wolves once lived throughout Arizona 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.

  • The livestock industry has a responsibility to share public lands with wolves and other wildlife. Funds are available to help livestock growers implement nonlethal deterrents, better animal husbandry practices, and other innovative tools that minimize conflict.

Make sure you:
  • Thank the paper for publishing the editorial.

  • Do not repeat any negative messages, such as “cows may have been killed by wolves, but…” Remember that those reading your letter will not be looking at the article it responds to, so this is an opportunity to get out positive messages about wolf recovery rather than to argue with the original article.

  • Keep your letter brief, between 150-300 words.

  • Include something about who you are and why you care: E.g. “I am a 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.

Please also contact AZ House members directly and tell them politely that you expect them to oppose these bills that embarrass Arizona, waste taxpayer money and fly in the face of overwhelming majority public support for wolf recovery.


CLICK HERE to learn more about the proposed anti-Mexican wolf measures.

Thank you for speaking out to save Mexican wolves!

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Photo credit: Amber Legras