Earlier this year, Los Alamos County joined Doña Anna, Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties in sending New Mexico’s congressional delegation resolutions supporting the Endangered Species Act. These counties represent more than 50 percent of the population of New Mexico. I know this because I participated in that effort. Recent polls show that a significant majority of New Mexicans do support the act.
Wolves and other predators are essential to maintaining a healthy environment. Because the species of wolf native to New Mexico, canis lupus baileyi (or Mexican gray wolf) was nearly eliminated by hunting, trapping and poisoning in the last century, increasing genetic diversity is critical to full recovery.
Unfortunately, Gov. Susana Martinez and her administration seem to be invested in ignoring the Endangered Species Act where Mexican gray wolves are concerned and want them to fail. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department is required to use the best available science, as outlined in Department of the Interior Manual DM-Part 305, Chapter 3, but it is not required to abide by state obstructionism to meet the goals of the act. Is it any wonder then that the department decided to place two wolf pups, born in captivity, into a den of wild wolves specifically to increase genetic diversity?
I applaud The Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife’s legal action to force the state of New Mexico to follow federal law by cooperating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department to bring back New Mexico’s wolves.
Donald L. Jones is a retired architect and a resident of Los Alamos County.
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The letters to the editor page is one of the most widely read, influential parts of the newspaper. One letter from you can reach thousands of people and will also likely be read by decision-makers. Tips and talking points for writing your letter are below, but please write in your own words, from your own experience. Don't try to include all of the points below. Your letter will be effective if you keep it brief and focus on a few key points.
Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points
• The Governor, Susana Martinez, and the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission should heed the majority of voters: when polled in 2008, 69% of New Mexicans said they support “the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf into public lands in Arizona and New Mexico”
• In a 2013 poll of registered voters, 87% of both Arizonans and New Mexicans agreed that “wolves are a vital part of America’s wilderness and natural heritage.” 83% of Arizonans and 80% of New Mexicans agreed that “the US Fish and Wildlife Service should make every effort to help wolves recover and prevent extinction.”
• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required by federal law, under the Endangered Species Act, to recover the endangered Mexican gray wolf in spite of state opposition
• The science is clear that the Mexican gray wolf is far from recovered and must remain protected under the Endangered Species Act. The New Mexico Game and Fish Commission’s suit barring wolf releases by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is an underhanded attempt to subvert the Endangered Species Act protections afforded the Mexican gray wolf
• At last official count, only 97 Mexican gray wolves were found in the wild, making them one of the most endangered wolves in the world. The wild population declined 12% since last year’s count
• The wild population of Mexican gray wolves is at tremendous risk due to its small size and genetics. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not released nearly enough wolves into the wild this year for the genetic rescue they require to avoid extinction
• 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
• 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
• Wolves are a benefit to the West and are essential to restoring the balance of nature
Make sure you:
• 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, under 150 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