Action: Don't let anti-wolf politics hijack wolf recovery
A draft plan with recovery criteria for the Mexican gray wolf was written in 2011 by a team of the nation's top wolf scientists, who were appointed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Mexican wolf recovery plan Science and Planning subgroup.
But instead of moving forward with the scientists' draft plan, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has allowed political interference to stall the recovery planning process and undermine the science.
Why? Because the four states containing habitat that is necessary for the Mexican wolf to achieve recovery are politically opposed to the scientists' recommendations, which include two new populations of wolves north of Interstate 40, increased numbers of wolves, and reduced human-caused wolf mortality.
Instead of moving forward with the science based recommendations from recognized wolf experts and the recovery planning team established over four years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now holding closed door meetings to discuss the Mexican wolf recovery plan with representatives from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah who have repeatedly demonstrated their opposition to wolves.
Please urge Secretary Jewell and Director Ashe to stop letting the states inject politics into recovery planning and to move forward with the scientists' draft recommendations.
A sample message is below-remember that it will be most effective written in your own words, from your own experience.
Dear Secretary Jewell,
Mexican gray wolves are important to me and the majority of voters, and their recovery can help restore ecological health to our wildlands. But there is no up-to-date, valid recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves, and new management rules for the wolves contradict the recovery recommendations of leading wolf experts.
Very few wolves have been released into the wild and this year, the wild population declined for the first time in six years, from 110 wolves last year to only 97.
Instead of allowing political interference by the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, the US Fish and Wildlife Service must expedite the release of adults and families of wolves from captivity and must move forward with the draft recovery plan based on the work of the science planning subgroup.
Obstruction by anti-wolf special interests and politics has kept this small population of unique and critically endangered wolves at the brink of extinction for too long and can no longer be allowed to do so. Development of a new recovery plan and expedited releases that will together address decreased genetic health and ensure long-term resiliency in Mexican wolf populations must move forward without delay or political interference.
[Your name and address]
You can make your letter more compelling by talking about your personal connection to wolves and why the issue is important to you. If you’re a camper or hiker wanting to hear wolves in the wild, or a hunter who recognizes that wolves make game herds healthier, or a businessperson who knows that wolves have brought millions in ecotourism dollars to Yellowstone, say so.
Please email your letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.
You can also copy your email to your members of congress, whose contact information can be found here. Include your full name, address, and phone number.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun failed recovery planning processes for the Mexican gray wolf three times in the past decade. The most recent recovery planning process, which began in 2011, stalled amidst allegations of political interference with the science. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed a scientific integrity complaint saying that USFWS has allowed politics to interfere with the new Mexican wolf recovery planning process by encouraging scientists to lower or forgo the numeric target for recovery, responding to demands to exclude Utah and other states from suitable habitat, and attempting to prevent the science subgroup from issuing final Mexican wolf recovery criteria.
In 2012, United States Congressman Raúl Grijalva – AZ sent a letter to the Secretary of the Interior asking for a full and fair investigation of the allegations of political interference.
The American Society of Mammalogists, the Society for Conservation Biology, and the Society for Ecological Restoration sent a letter to USFWS urging the government to immediately resume recovery planning for the Mexican wolf, and offering their assistance to help move the process forward.
Thank you for adding your voice on behalf of these important animals who cannot speak for themselves.