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In the Press: Pearce Seeks To Cut Wolf Program Funds

This February 18 article from the ABQ Journal describes Rep. Pearce’s underhanded attempt to end federal funding for Mexican wolf recovery.

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Write a short, easy letter today and save Mexican wolves!

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 stop funding to protect them.

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 paper’s submission address and word limit for letters is at the end of the article.

Pearce Seeks To Cut Wolf Program Funds
By Rene Romo, Journal Southern Bureau
         
LAS CRUCES — Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., has proposed an amendment to the continuing funding resolution under consideration by the House that would eliminate funding for the 12-year-old Mexican gray wolf recovery effort.
       
The amendment had not been attached to the fiscal year 2011 funding bill as of Thursday evening. It is among hundreds that have been offered for the Republican bill that seeks to cut $61 billion from the federal budget for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.        
...
Dave Parsons, former head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services's program, noted that, while the plan was completed in 1982, the program was not staffed and funded until late 1990, and wolves were not released to southeast Arizona until early 1998.
       
The wolf population in the wild was expected to grow to 100 by 2006, but the agency has said that number was not a recovery goal. It is in the process of developing a recovery plan with a long-term population goal.
       
After three years of declining or stagnant numbers in the wild, the lobo population grew to 50 at the end of 2010 from 42 in 2009.
       
Parsons said the recovery project's failure to reach the 2006 benchmark resulted from "heavy-handed, unimaginative management policies that scapegoated and permanently removed wolves as the primary method of addressing conflicts" with livestock.
       
Layer later added that Pearce was "interested in finding solutions to keep the wolf alive. ... However, the fact remains that it is fiscally irresponsible to keep forcing taxpayers to pour money into this failed program."
       
Pearce has introduced 21 amendments his office said could cut federal spending by tens of billions of dollars, much of it for construction or land acquisition from the Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
       
Bill Snape, with the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, predicted the House bill, if passed, would fail in the Democratic-led Senate.
       
"It's one thing to try to balance the budget," Snape said. "It's another to use the budget process to destroy popular environmental programs you don't have the votes to otherwise pass in clear daylight."
       
Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association, said she supported Pearce's effort, saying, "We hate to see the country, in this economy, ... continue to pour money into a program that's not successful."

This article was published in the Albuquerque Journal on Feb. 18, 2011 and slightly shortened above.

PLEASE WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR of the Albuquerque Journal (be brief), thanking them for this article, and calling on Senators Udall and Bingaman and your members in the House to vigorously oppose any bills that will strip these 50 wolves of their endangered species protections or funding: http://www.abqjournal.com/letters/new.

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 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.

* Point out that total cost of the entire program from 1977 through the end of 2010 was about 30 cents for a family of four, or ~.008 cents a year per family-a real bargain to keep a keystone species from extinction.

* 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.

Click here for more information and action items.

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

Photo of Mexican gray wolf family courtesy of the Endangered Wolf Center