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In The News: Mexican gray wolves on the comeback trail

Big Bend Courier 9/5/14 Letters Needed

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Richard Mark Glover

Alpine - Mexican gray wolves are making a comeback in the southwest.

Officials at the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City last week presented the first litter of the species to be born through artificial insemination in the country. In July CONANP (Mexico National Committee of Protected Natural Areas) announced the first known litter of wild-born Mexican gray wolves at a managed wildlife area (SSP) in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains, south of Arizona.

In the United States, the Mexican gray wolf (Canis Lupus Baileyi), also known as El Lobo, was designated as an endangered species in 1976. In Texas the last recorded sighting of a Mexican Gray was in 1957 at Castelon, a small trading post on the Rio Grande and now part of the Big Bend National Park.

In accordance with the Endangered Species Act, a plan to save the species from extinction was drawn by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1977. Five survivors of the Mexican gray wolf, the smallest, rarest and southern most occurring of the Gray Wolf species of North America, were trapped in Mexico in 1978 and brought to the US where they were managed and bred in captivity.

In 1998, eleven Mexican gray wolves were released to the wild in the Apache and Gila National Forests of New Mexico and Arizona. Today, according to the US Fish and Wildlife, there are approximately 284 Mexican gray wolves living in [captivity] at approximately 52 SSA locations throughout Mexico and the US. The closest of these to Texas is in Socorro, New Mexico, approximately 190 miles north of El Paso, where ten of the animals are known to live.

At one time the Mexican gray wolf was common along the US-Mexican border but years of predator extermination practices instigated by livestock operators and the sale of wolf pelts to fur traders by trappers brought the animal nearly to extinction. The Mexican gray wolf remains the most endangered subspecies of wolf in the world.

Published by Big Bend Courier
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ACT NOW!  Endangered Mexican Wolves Need Your Help!

Submit a letter to the editor responding to this article, and influence decision-makers and thousands of your fellow citizens. 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.

With fewer than 90 Mexican gray wolves in the wild, US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to make changes that could push them closer to extinction or finally help them thrive. The decision will be made in the next few months and they need to hear from you!

Talking points

* Start by thanking the paper for publishing this article.

* Wolves once lived throughout Arizona and New Mexico and played a critical role in keeping the balance of nature in place.

* Wolves need freedom from boundaries. Wolves will establish themselves in suitable areas with adequate game. They will naturally avoid places with high densities of humans and low prey availability. USFWS must change the rules that do not allow wolves to establish new packs and populations in additional areas that are essential to their recovery.

* Polling has shown repeatedly that the vast majority of Arizonans support wolf recovery.

*An ever-growing body of research shows that wolves are key to restoring wild places, and wolf-related tourism can bring significant income into communities.

* People who care about wolves have an important opportunity to speak out for their recovery through September 23, 2014.Comments can be submitted electronically here:  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056-6056.  More information can be found at mexicanwolves.org.

* USFWS should not allow more killing of critically endangered wolves. The agency's draft proposal will push Mexican gray wolves towards extinction by allowing many more of them to be killed under all kinds of justifications. With fewer than 90 in the wild, every wolf is important. These native lobos need more protections, not less.

Make sure you:


* Thank the paper for publishing the article.

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

* Make your letter personal. Don't be afraid to use humor or personal stories. 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:  editor@bigbendcourier.com

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE USFWS PROPOSAL AND SUBMIT COMMENTS, CLICK HERE.


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