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In the Press: U.S. Agents Kill Errant Wolf

Albuquerque Journal, December 16, 2011 (posted 12/19/11)

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LAS CRUCES — A female wolf that had repeatedly visited a Catron County residence was fatally shot Wednesday evening on the order of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The federal agency, which is overseeing the 13-year-old reintroduction project, called the decision to kill the wolf a “difficult decision.” The wolf was the first wild-roaming lobo killed by federal agents since July 2007, but in the earlier cases the agency made the decision to shoot wolves because of repeated cattle depredations.

The wolf shot Wednesday had mated with a domestic dog and last spring gave birth to a litter of five hybrid pups, four of which the agency captured and euthanized to preserve the integrity of the recovery effort.

Because the wolf, identified as F1105, had been visiting a home within the Gila National Forest, the Service tried to capture her and remove her from the wild. When several attempts to dart the wolf failed, concerns about public safety led Service officials to issue an order to kill the wolf, spokesman Tom Buckley said.

Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity said the “very sad episode” occurred because of the agency’s “refusal to release enough wolves into the wild to allow this single female to find a mate of her own kind.”
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PLEASE WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR TODAY, thanking the paper for this article and promoting more releases of Mexican wolves into the wild. Similar articles ran in several newspapers.

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 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Tips for writing your letter are below, but please write in your own words, from your own experience.

Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points
Below are a few suggestions for ensuring your message gets through clearly-your letter will be most effective if you focus on a few key points, so don’t try to use all of these. If you need additional help or want someone to review your letter before you send it, email it to info@mexicanwolves.org:

  • Start by thanking paper for their coverage of this important issue-this makes your letter immediately relevant and increases its chances of being published.
  • Stress that only about 50 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild, making them the most endangered mammal in North America.
  • Encourage the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to use all the means available to them to expedite releases of captive wolves into the wild.
  • Convey how important new releases of wolves into the wild are to increase the population’s numbers and genetic health-new releases are essential to pull the wild population away from the brink of extinction.
  • Explain that there are wolves in captivity ready to be released and wolves in the wild that do not have mates; these wolves can’t wait two or more years for the new Recovery Plan to be completed.
  • 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.
  • Reiterate the ecological benefits of wolves to entire ecosystems and all wildlife.
  • Keep your letter brief, between 150-300 words.
  • 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.

Letters can be submitted to these papers that published similar articles (click on the paper's title to see the article as they published it):

Albuquerque Journal December 15, December 16 Submit letters here.

Las Cruces Sun-News
Submit letters here (300-word limit).

LA Times Submit letters here.

Sierra Vista Herald
Submit letters here.

East Valley Tribune
Submit letters here (250-word limit).

The Republic (Indiana)
Submit letters here (600-word limit).

Thank you for all you do to support Mexican gray wolves and their recovery in the wild!

Photo: Mexican gray wolf courtesy of C. Morrison