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.
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.