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Complaint Lodged With Agency Over Cow's Death

Catron County Commissioner Promotes “No-Wolf” Stand Against Lobos (published 4/15/11, posted 4/30/11)


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Note: The article below demonstrates the stubborn opposition of a vocal minority to the lobo’s very existence. This unreasoning unwillingness to share the land with wolves is one very strong reason that the 50 remaining endangered Mexican gray wolves in the wild desperately need strong federal endangered species protections to protect them from special interests that want to see them go extinct in the wild again.

By Rene Romo
Journal Southern Bureau
         
LAS CRUCES — The Catron County Commission has lodged a complaint alleging that state Game and Fish Department biologists tried to alter the finding of a federal investigation into a cow's cause of death.
       
At stake in the verdict by Wildlife Services, a U.S. Department of Agriculture agency, is whether the cow's owner can receive compensation for the loss.
       
If Wildlife Services confirms that a cow was killed by a Mexican gray wolf, an endangered species, a rancher can be reimbursed $747. But if the finding is not definite, if a wolf kill is only considered "probable," the rancher is not eligible for compensation.
       
According to Catron County officials, two Wildlife Services employees, as well as the county's own "wolf incident investigator," concurred that a cow discovered Jan. 18 near the Arizona border had been killed by a wolf. Catron County officials allege Game and Fish biologists sought to change that conclusion to a "probable" wolf kill.
       
According to Catron County's own news release issued this week, Game and Fish Director Tod Stevenson denied that his staff tried to modify the Wildlife Services finding from "confirmed" to "probable" wolf kill, but simply suggested federal personnel take into account the presence of feral dogs in the area of the cow carcass. …
       
During their meeting April 6, Catron County commissioners complained about the matter to Stevenson and two Game Commission members. The Catron commission in late February also filed a complaint with Gov. Susana Martinez asking for a review of the Game and Fish biologists' actions.
       
"We have taken a no-wolf stand," Catron County Commission Chairman Hugh McKeen said in a written statement directed at the governor. "I'm requesting that you take a no-wolf stance, too."
       
Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said members of the governor's staff discussed Catron County's concerns with Game and Fish staff, adding: "We have instructed the Department of Game and Fish that this is a federal issue and DGF should not be playing such a role in the federal (wolf) repopulation efforts."
       
May said that in trying to determine the cause of a domesticated animal's death, Wildlife Services personnel "routinely solicit input from others," including Game and Fish employees, "in order to ensure that the most informed decision is made." …

Click here to read the full article.

PLEASE SUBMIT A LETTER TO THE EDITOR of the Albuquerque Journal (click here) using some of the talking points below.
* There are only 52 Mexican Gray Wolves left in the wild, making it the most endangered mammal in North America. To survive, these wolves must have strong federal protections.
* We have a responsibility as good stewards to share the land with wolves and other native wildlife.Wolves are beautiful animals that belong in Nature.
* Wolves are a benefit to the West.
* Wildlife biologists believe that once they are fully restored, Mexican wolves will improve the overall health of southwest ecosystems – just as the return of gray wolves has resulted in numerous positive changes in Yellowstone National Park.
* Wolves will bring economic benefits to the Southwest, as they have done in the Yellowstone region.

It will help your letter get published if you
* Tie it to this article and thank the paper for publishing it.

* 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.

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

Photo: This historic photo shows a wild Mexican gray wolf killed in the days when anti-wolf attitudes were prevalent, resulting in the extermination of almost every lobo in existence.