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One Short Letter From You Can Save Mexican Wolves!

These recently published editorials and excellent letters to the editor provide an opportunity to let everyone know wolf extinction legislation has to be stopped.

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The editorial and letters to the editor below provide a brief window of opportunity for letters to the editor supporting Mexican wolves to be published in the Arizona Republic, the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Albuquerque Journal, and the Arizona Daily Sun. We are very grateful to those who submitted letters to papers.

Getting letters published in support of Mexican wolves is urgent right now, since bills have been introduced in Congress that would strip all gray wolves of their Endangered Species Act protections, and Rep. Pearce (NM) is trying to remove all federal funding for lobos.

Please take a little time today to write a letter to the editor. Your letter will have a better chance of getting published if you start by thanking the paper for its recent article, and tying your key points to the article.

Please write in your own words, from your own experience, and keep it brief. The papers’ submission addresses and word limits for letters are at the end of each editorial or letter.

Albuquerque Journal
Letter to the Editor February 16, 2011
As a child I often visited the Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In residence there were 7 Mexican Grey Wolves, which I learned were some of the very last of their kind. This knowledge and my encounter with these elusive, intelligent beings affected me profoundly.

A decade later I was a student at UNM. There, thanks to the efforts of committed environmental groups, I was able to participate (in a very small way) in the reintroduction of Lobos to the wild. They were back from the very brink of extinction! This should have ended as an amazing success story. Unfortunately, the effort is now foundering because of entrenched economic interests that offer no quarter to wolves -- critically endangered or otherwise.
 
 The current population of 50 wild Lobos is anything but stable. They could be wiped out in the blink of an eye - forever. Stripping them of protection under the Endangered Species Act, as proposed by Congressman Rehberg, Senator Hatch, and others, would be madness - or if rational, reflects an intent that these keystone predators become extinct. That is unacceptable.
Ian Scott Field

Please write a short letter to the editor of the Albuquerque Journal thanking them for Ian’s letter and asking Senators Udall and Bingaman to fight bills that would strip money or protections from Mexican wolves: http://www.abqjournal.com/letters/new.

Santa Fe New Mexican
Letters to the Editor February 15, 2011

Wolves once roamed free in almost every corner of North America. Today if you hear a wolf howl in the wild, consider yourself extremely fortunate because that experience is truly rare. Like the eagle and the bison, wolves in the wilderness are a part of the heritage and landscape of this great nation. Just knowing that there are wolves running free makes me proud to be an American.

Bills in Congress will strip wolves of their minimal protections. Only 50 Mexican wolves remain in New Mexico and Arizona. If these bills pass, these wolves will again face extinction, and there will be a devastating effect on other endangered species as well. I love our wildlife and wild places, and do not want to see that happen! God gave wolves a purpose and place, and we should protect them — not only for this generation, but for many generations to come.
Sonia Kircher Isleta Pueblo

Be careful what you wish for. The assault by special-interest groups, mainly livestock and hunting organizations, on the Endangered Species Act are heating in Washington, D.C. Recently reintroduced House Bills 509 and 510 and Senate Bill 249 have targeted wolves in the Rocky Mountain states for slaughter, but that is not my point. Many of theses bills are being directed to amend, or in some cases gut the ESA, thus turning it into a paper lion and rendering it useless.

Our flora and fauna should not be subject to political influence paid for by special-interest groups. This would create a dangerous precedent for future plant and wildlife in the U.S. Should a living thing that is afforded the protection of the ESA stand in the way of big business opportunities, it will be for sale.
Marc Cooke Stevensville, Mont.

How can we not protect the 50 remaining Mexican wolves? They are a symbol of the American West. Like the bison, wolves were here long before the ranchers. Why must we annihilate them? What satisfaction can be derived by their removal? Why must we sanitize publicly owned open range?

Open range belongs to us and we all have a say in how it is used. Let nature be nature. Must our wilderness areas be turned into beef-cattle ranges, more suited for lowland operations? Are we that short on open space, or are we just protecting the ranching lifestyle? Who wouldn't want to live surrounded by mountains and forests, plus be able to multiply pasture area for pennies on the dollar? For the bargain they are getting, they should be willing to co-exist with the wolves.
Rod Armstrong Phoenix

Please write a letter to the editor of the Santa Fe New Mexican (150 words), thanking them for one or all of the letters above and calling on Senators Udall and Bingaman to fight bills that would remove funding or endangered species protections from Mexican wolves: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/SendLetter/

The Arizona Republic (editorial)
February 14, 2011
Montana's 2012 Senate race could doom wolves in Arizona.
It's politics. And it stinks.

The long-fought effort to restore endangered Mexican gray wolves to the wilds of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico is threatened by posturing between two politicians. Montana's Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, who intends to run for Senate, are each trying to look more appealing to anti-wolf factions in that state. Wolves are pawns.

Let's be clear: The situation for the Mexican gray wolves is very different from that of wolves in the northern Rockies.
Wolves in the northern Rockies are in far better shape than the 50 Mexican gray wolves who stand between the species' survival and its elimination in the wilds of the Southwest. These wolves need more protection, not less.

Wolves in the northern Rockies are much more plentiful, yet efforts to remove them from the endangered-species list were overturned by court decision last August. Since then, Tester has been trying to satisfy the concerns of those who are not happy about the increasing numbers of wolves in Montana and its neighboring states.

Legitimate concerns about wolves need to be addressed. But Tester's efforts late last year included a move to simply exclude those wolves from the Endangered Species Act - not through a bill that could have been debated, but as part of a larger omnibus bill.

Rehberg is upping the ante. As a newly announced candidate for Tester's Senate seat, Rehberg says the federal government should have no say in state wildlife issues.

This is nonsense.

The Endangered Species Act is a recognition of the value of species diversity as part of every American's national heritage. States don't trump that national interest.

Yet Rehberg wants Congress to exclude all wolves - including those in Arizona and New Mexico - from protection under the Endangered Species Act. Environmental groups say this effort could also be tacked onto a larger bill without debate.

Both these efforts circumvent the role of Congress as a place to openly debate matters that affect the nation. They also run around a careful process for species delisting that is built into the existing law of the land.

This approach could create a precedent of excluding animals based on politics instead of biology. It would neuter the Endangered Species Act, which is recognized as one of the world's premier environmental laws. Rehberg's scheme would doom the Mexican gray wolves.

Democrats - including the Obama administration - have been allowing Tester to build his states' rights bona fides as he seeks re-election. The president and Democrats in Congress should show some spine and serve a higher interest than Tester's political future.

The American people benefit from a healthy Endangered Species Act and a healthy population of wolves - including Mexican gray wolves.

Letter to the editor, February 15, 2011
Regarding the editorial on Monday, "Mont. pols could imperil wolves": Legislation like that proposed by Montana Sens. Jon Tester and Denny Rehberg threaten Mexican gray wolves with extinction by failing to recognize their extreme vulnerability and proposing to withdraw federal protection. This is an irresponsible approach and makes us all potentially responsible for yet another extinction. To knowingly end an entire evolutionary lifeline is supremely presumptuous and morally inexcusable. It is also tragically commonplace. This is not a precedent we need. Legislation like this will only distract from the ecological and ethical pillars put in place by Emerson, Thoreau, Muir, Leopold, Carson, and countless others, upon which we should be building.
Thomas Watkins, Flagstaff

Please write a letter to the editor of the Arizona Republic (200 word limit), thanking them for this editorial and/or Thomas’s letter, and calling on Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to uphold scientific integrity and work to stop bills that will strip these 50 wolves of their endangered species protections or funding: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/sendaletter.html.

Arizona Daily Sun
Letter to the Editor February 14, 2011

Wolves in wilderness part of divine splendor
As pastor of The Journey, I enjoy living in northern Arizona and hiking in its wilderness areas. Like so many of my fellow citizens, I relish seeing diverse kinds of wildlife in their natural habitat. Jewish and Christian scripture says that God made both wild and domestic creatures and God "saw that it was good." In keeping with my Celtic ancestors, I believe that animals and plants of every kind communicate Divine splendor.

That's why I am concerned, both as a follower of Jesus and as a resident of Arizona, over a recent attempt in Congress to have wolves removed from the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Without ESA protection, Arizona's Mexican gray wolf, a subspecies already endangered, would be at serious risk of extinction.

A recent article in the Daily Sun said that only 50 of these wolves are living in the wilderness of Arizona and New Mexico. The gray wolves are awesome and highly intelligent creatures -- a lovely note in the symphony of nature that would be sorely missed. Predators are a necessary part of the natural balance that keeps deer, elk and other species from overpopulating wilderness areas and damaging the land through overgrazing. Allowing top predator species to fill their proper role in the world provides for a healthier wilderness in our state and an opportunity for those of us who love nature to experience it as it was meant to be.
Kenneth McIntosh, Flagstaff

Please write a letter to the editor of the AZ Daily Sun (250-words), thanking them for Pastor McIntosh’s letter and calling on President Obama and people of conscience to work to stop these deadly bills: azdsnews@azdailysun.com.

Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points
Below are a few suggestions for ensuring your message gets through clearly; if you need additional help or want someone to review your letter before you send it, email it to
info@mexicanwolves.org:

* Stress that only about 50 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild; now is not the time to remove them from the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

* Encourage President Obama and your Senators by name (http://www.contactingthecongress.org/) to fight all bills that would weaken the Endangered Species Act and place wolves at greater risk of extinction and ask your fellow citizens to speak up against them.

* Point out that these bills set a precedent that endangers all wildlife.

* Talk about your personal connection to wolves and why the issue is important to you. If you’re a grandmother wanting your grandchildren to have the opportunity 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..

* Keep your letter between 150-300 words, depending on the paper’s limit.

* Provide your name, address and phone number; your full address and phone number will not be published, but they are required in order to have your letter published.

For more background, talking points, and editorial contacts click here

Thank you, and please share any letters you submit with us: info@mexicanwolves.org.

Mexican wolf photo courtesy of C. Morrison