Lobos of the Southwest

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Featured Mexican Wolf Advocate - Steve Robinson, Letter Writer Par Excellence

Steve has penned seven letters to the editor over the last 3 years.  He never misses an opportunity to speak up for our wolves.  He is an inspiration for all of us!  Pick up your pens (or start tapping on your keyboards) and let's keep wolf issues in our papers.

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Featured Mexican Wolf Advocate
Steve Robinson, Letter Writer Par Excellence

Steve has penned seven letters to the editor over the last 3 years.  He never misses an opportunity to speak up for our wolves.  He is an inspiration for all of us!
Pick up your pens (or start tapping on your keyboards) and let's keep wolf issues in our papers.

Wolf return connects us to natural world
Posted: Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:00 am

To the editor:

Saturday's headline in the Arizona Daily Sun, "North Rim wolf revival?" (March 6), renewed my hope that a door might be opening for the return of the Mexican gray wolf to the northern part of our state. There are few sounds in the wild that evoke more deep-seated emotion in humans than the plaintive howl of a wolf. It is time that this endangered subspecies return to its historic range here in northern Arizona. Scientific research has clearly shown the benefits of a proper predator prey balance to the restoration of wilderness. But what it may not be able to document is the deep emotional or spiritual need in all of us to stay in some way connected to our natural world. The lobo is part of that world. It belongs here.

STEVE ROBINSON
Flagstaff

Prosecute killers of wolves as criminals
Posted: Friday, February 12, 2010 5:00 am

To the editor:

The article in Saturday's Daily Sun, "Federal count of Mexican wolves drops by 10," is bad news for this native Arizonan subspecies of wolf. As there were only 52 of these animals living in the wild last January, this new count represents a loss of 20 percent of the total Mexican wolf population living in the wild. It is more imperative than ever that the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service quickly craft an updated plan, based on sound science, to ensure the recovery of this subspecies that they have identified as "one of the rarest land mammals in the world."

One issue plaguing the recovery of this wolf over the past 11 years is the illegal shooting of these animals by anti-wolf individuals. These people are criminals who feel their fanatical hatred of wolves outweighs the views of the majority of Arizona/New Mexico citizens who support restoring his key predator to its historic habitat. I urge the FWS to increase its focus on the apprehension and prosecution of these criminals. And I encourage readers who support the protection of the Mexican wolf to contact Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Regional Director of the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, P. O. Box 1306, Albuquerque NM 87103 to express your support for the recovery of his magnificent animal in the Arizona wilderness. Your letter, e-mail or phone call could help drive the changes needed if the lobo is to survive.

STEVE ROBINSON
Flagstaff

Wolf recovery now in better hands
Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2009 11:00 pm

To the editor:

Friday the 13th may have been a lucky day for the Mexican gray wolf. Settling a lawsuit filed by several environmental organizations, the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service reclaimed its authority over the Mexican wolf recovery program and scrapped the controversial SOP 13 rule that required removal or killing of any wolf that killed three livestock in a year, regardless of the wolf's genetic importance to recovery efforts.

For some time now the Mexican Wolf Adaptive Management Oversight Committee (AMOC) had been the sole decision- maker in determining whether a wolf should be removed from the wild. The committee members running AMOC (pun intended) focused on wolf control and appeasing anti-wolf interests in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area rather than recovery of endangered Lobo. Now the FWS can refocus its efforts on creating a sound, science-based recovery plan that may help prevent the second extinction of this important predator. Let's hope they get it right.

STEVE ROBINSON
Flagstaff

Wolves from Mexico no threat to U.S.
Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2009 10:00 pm

To the editor:

The Aug. 13 Daily Sun article, "Wolf release in Mexico sparks concern," was in fact some very good news in the struggle to bring the endangered Mexican gray wolf back from near extinction. With only 52 of these imperiled carnivores living in the Arizona/New Mexico wilderness at the beginning of 2009, Mexico's plan to begin releasing the wolves in Sonora state later this year is welcome news indeed.

This news was not welcomed by all though. According to an article published in the Albuquerque Journal on Aug. 12, Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, expressed fear about the wolves traveling across the border into the U.S. "We've talked about concerns about the U.S government releasing wolves on citizens. Now we have a foreign government releasing a predator on U.S. citizens," he said.

Perhaps Mr. Cowan's fears will be eased to learn that in the 11 years since the first Mexican wolves were released in Arizona and New Mexico, there have been no wolf attacks (or even nips) on any of our citizens. In fact, all the evidence to date indicates that the Mexican wolves prefer to feast on ungulates such as deer and elk rather than the citizens of our fair states.

STEVE ROBINSON
Flagstaff

Help save the Mexican gray wolf
Posted: Monday, December 3, 2007 11:00 pm

To the editor:

I would like to thank the Daily Sun for the informative coverage of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service meeting held in Flagstaff on Nov. 26 regarding the future of the Mexican gray wolf recovery plan for Arizona and New Mexico. I was pleased to see the tremendous local support for continued recovery efforts for the Mexican wolf here in Arizona. The NEPA (National Environmental Polict Act) hearings gave all of us the opportunity to share written comments and suggestions to encourage rule changes to the current wolf recovery policy.

I will touch on just one of them here. While reintroduced wolves have thrived in the Northern Rockies, the Mexican gray wolf population remains dangerously low in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. Currently there are fewer than 60 wolves in this area. One of the reasons for this is the stringent rules concerning capture and relocation of wolves that stray from the established boundaries of the BRWRA. This rule interferes with thier instinct to establish new territories and denning sites as a natural part of thier recovery. A rule change to allow for thier natural migration into the Grand Canyon ecoregion (a wilderness area that streaches from the Mogollon Plateau into the canyonlands of southern Utah) would open up thousands of square miles of prime wilderness area with an abundant prey base.

Without the support of state and federal government as well as concerned citizens this magnificent wolf subspecies could be doomed to extinction in the wild. I encourage readers to get involved in the effort to save Mexican gray wolf. Additional information on this issue is available and the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project Web site: www.gcwolf recovery.org

STEVE ROBINSON
Flagstaff

Protecting cattle will protect wolves
Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2007 10:00 pm

To the editor:

I read with interest the Writer on the Range article by Bryce Andrews, "Living precariously with wolves, cattle" (Aug. 7). He wrote of his desire to live in peaceful co-existence with the wolves who fed on elk in the high country of Montana while their cattle fattened themselves unharmed in the lower river bottom pastures.

Then in July they moved their herd into the high county (wolf territory) and "left them munching Forest Service grass." He became enraged when the cattle they left unguarded started becoming victims of wolf depredation. After the Montana Department of Fish & Wildlife confirmed a wolf kill, a "shoot-on-sight" permit was issued for two wolves.

Of course they had no way of knowing which wolves were involved in the kill so any two wolves would do … an eye for an eye. A few days later he shot a wolf and watched it go down and attempt to crawl away before he pumped a second shot into it. The next day one of his associates killed a half-grown pup and the sentence was complete. He claims credit for the fact that the wolf pack later moved up into the mountains, and states that killing the wolf was "the most effective conservation act of my life."

I would like to suggest a better conservation act may have been not to leave the cattle unprotected in known wolf country in the first place. Ranchers in Canada and in Minnesota, where wolves have lived for generations, have used cattle riders and other methods to cut depredation with success. With a little respect for these magnificent predators and some ingenuity the ranching community (in Montana and Arizona) might reasonably co-exist with the wolves and minimize losses.

Steve Robinson
Flagstaff

Grand Canyon region can sustain wolfpacks
Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 10:00 pm

To the editor:

I would like to respond to "Jobs, not wolves, needed in Flagstaff." (Letters, May 17). The writer is correct that there have been changes in the environment of northern Arizona over the past century. That is why we should take steps to insure that large areas of remaining habitat be protected from further development and returned to as much a natural state as possible. The Grand Canyon Ecoregion (stretching from the Mogollon Plateau to the canyon lands of southern Utah) contains large expanses of undeveloped land and abundant game that could sustain several wolfpacks in an ecologically balanced predator-prey relationship.

As to the writer's concerns that wolves might converge on Flagstaff, he need not fear. Wolves go to great lengths to avoid human contact, and in fact there is not one documented case of a healthy, wild wolf killing a human in the United States. The Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project (www.gcwolfrecovery.org) is based here in Flagstaff and can provide access to wolf recovery information and scientific studies that have been conducted to date. I encourage those who have interest in this issue to read the current research.

STEVE ROBINSON
Flagstaff