Column: Wolf recovery planning keeps hitting roadblocks
~ The geographically separate populations showed interconnectivity, or migration between them.
~ The overall population trend was stable or increasing.
with a letter to the editor today!
Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points
- The US Fish and Wildlife Service has been stalling on a science-based recovery plan for over 40 years; the agency must move forward with the release of a draft plan based on the work of the science planning subgroup for public review now.
- A projected timeline of 2-3 years for a Mexican wolf recovery plan is unacceptable. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has for several years been sitting on a plan already drafted by scientific experts because it outlines changes necessary for recovery that have met with political resistance from state agencies hostile to wolf recovery.
- At last official count, only 109 Mexican gray wolves were found in the wild, making them one of the most endangered wolves in the world.
- The wild population of Mexican wolves is at tremendous risk due to its small size and genetics. Many more wolves should be released from the hundreds in captive breeding programs.
- For over 3 decades, captive breeding programs in the U.S. and Mexico have worked to maximize genetic diversity so that captive wolves could be released in Arizona and New Mexico to increase the wild population’s genetic health.
- Wolves are a benefit to the West and are essential to restoring the balance of nature.
- Scientists 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.
- Mexican gray wolves are unique native animals. They are the rarest, most genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf in North America and the most endangered wolf in the world.
- 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.
- The livestock industry has a responsibility to share public lands with wolves and other wildlife. Wolves are responsible for less than 1% of livestock losses and there are many tried and true methods to avoid conflicts between livestock and wolves.
- The wolves do need a “genetic rescue plan” immediately. Such a scientific plan will involve releasing more wolves, as well as cross-fostering.
- There are proven ways to lessen conflicts between wolves and livestock , and most wolves stay out of trouble.
- Thank the paper for publishing the article.
- Submit your letter as soon as possible. The chance of your letter being published declines after a day or two since the article was published.
- Do not repeat any negative messages from the article, such as “so and so said that wolves kill too many cows, 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 150-250 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.