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In the News: Feds Release Wolf Pairs in New Mexico, Arizona

Associated Press, April 27, 2013  (posted 05/01/13)

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SILVER CITY — Federal wildlife managers are releasing two pairs of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico in hopes of bolstering the population of the endangered predators.

The first pair was transported this week from a captive breeding facility in New Mexico to a holding pen in the Apache National Forest in southeastern Arizona. The male and female will be released once they acclimate to the area.

The other pair is being released at a remote site within the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico. The wolves were crated and packed into the backcountry Saturday on the backs of specially trained mules.

Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the wolves would be placed in a temporary enclosure at a release site about a dozen miles from the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. The wolves will be able to chew their way out of the enclosure.

“We continue to be committed to strategic releases that improve genetic diversity, increase the number of breeding wolves and offset illegal mortalities in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area,” Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle said in a statement.

Tuggle said he expects the releases to help the agency reach its goal of a self-sustaining wild wolf population.

Environmentalists said the releases were a positive step. They have long criticized the agency for not releasing more wolves. Still, distain for the animals continues to pulse through rural communities, where ranchers feel their livelihoods are at risk.

A subspecies of the gray wolf found in the Northern Rockies, the Mexican wolf was added to the federal endangered species list in 1976. The 15-year effort to reintroduce them in New Mexico and Arizona has stumbled due to legal battles, illegal shootings, politics and other problems.

Officials with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department said much consideration went into choosing which wolves would be released and where they would be let go. Factors included their genetics and whether they had formed a breeding bond as well as the absence of livestock, the distance from homes and whether there were enough elk and other prey.

Members of the wolf recovery team plan on putting out supplemental feed for the wolves while they learn to catch and kill native prey. Officials say that will also help anchor the wolves to the area.

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This article appeared in the following news sources.

Santa Fe New Mexican
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Las Cruces Sun-News
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Ruidoso News
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Alamoordo Daily News
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The Daily Times
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My San Antonio
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Beaumont Enterprise
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San Francisco Chronicle
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The Oklahoman
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The Washington Examiner
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Dayton Daily News
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Seatle PI
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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 publishing this article. This makes your letter immediately relevant and increases its chances of being published.

Express your support of wolves and stress that the majority of Arizona residents support wolves and understand their importance.  Polling done by Research and Polling, Inc. found 77 percent of Arizona respondents support the reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves. The poll also showed strong majority support for giving wolves greater protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Describe the ecological benefits of wolves to entire ecosystems and all wildlife. Wildlife biologists 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. Science has repeatedly demonstrated that wolves are keystone carnivores who help to keep wildlife like elk and deer healthy and bring balance to the lands they inhabit.

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 brief, between 150-200 words.

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


Photo credit: The Halfmoon pack being transported to the release pen in the Gila Wilderness - April 27, 2013.  Photo courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

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