The 2021 Initial Release and Translocation Plan outlines management options for initial release(s) and translocation(s) of Mexican wolves into the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) in Arizona and New Mexico for the year.
US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other agency partners continue to focus only on cross-fostering, a technique that involves introducing individual pups into wild dens, rather than releasing bonded wolf families into the wild. While cross-fostering is an important tool, cross-fostered pups have to grow up and have pups of their own to contribute their genetics, making cross-fostering a longer-term investment in recovery which may not be enough to address the urgent genetic crisis wild Mexican gray wolves face.
The release of bonded family packs will immediately increase the genetic diversity of the wild population by placing breeding age wolves onto the landscape. Both techniques are needed if we are to save these rare wolves from extinction.
USFWS must hear from wolf advocates like you who support wolf families being released from the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan(SSP) captive breeding program into the Southwestern landscapes where they belong!
Suggested talking points that you can personalize for your comments and outreach:
- The US Fish and Wildlife Service continues to give Arizona and New Mexico control over Mexican gray wolf recovery by failing to ask for permission to release well-bonded wolf families with pups.
- The US Fish and Wildlife Service alleges that releasing adults is not desirable due to nuisance behavior from wolves released from captivity, ignoring the efforts of the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) captive breeding facilities to reduce the risk of wolves becoming habituated to people and to ensure that those wolves retain their wild instincts. This devalues the expertise and commitment of SSP partners and places a huge burden on the SSP to house and breed more wolves without hope of those wolves having a chance to someday live in the wild where they belong.
- The US Fish and Wildlife Service claims that captive-born adults that are released require diversionary feeding and other resource-intensive management actions to help these wolves adjust to life in the wild but fails to mention that every pack that receives cross-fostered pups will also require supplementary food caches and intensive monitoring to ensure the success of cross-fostering operations. If both techniques require similar resources, USFWS should not give up on one because it takes “too much work.”
- The US Fish and Wildlife Service claims there is no tolerance for adult releases but could be doing more to support community outreach in areas where Mexican gray wolves are returning as well as increasing investment in projects that reduce wolf-livestock conflict and improve social tolerance. Following the genetic crisis, lack of social tolerance and the associated illegal killings that follow are among the greatest threats to the survival of Mexican gray wolves. USFWS needs to step up and do more to improve social tolerance if Mexican gray wolves are to have a chance to thrive.
- The proposal calls for trying to take captive born pups and place them with foster mothers in wild dens but has no provisions for accountability or a “fallback” to keep the genetic health from deteriorating if this goal is not met.
- Relying solely on placing pups into existing dens slows the dispersal of wild wolves into additional legally authorized suitable habitat. Releases of bonded wolf families with their pups will increase the wild population, improve genetics in the wild, and expand the area where these beautiful native wolves can be found.
- Southwestern landscapes need wolves, and wolves need USFWS to do more to ensure they can reclaim their role bringing balance to wild places.
Wild Mexican gray wolves need your help during this public comment period.
You may submit written comments by one of the following methods:
Electronically: You may email email@example.com. Responses submitted electronically must be received by 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time on December 31, 2020.
By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail to: Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, Attn: 2021 Proposed Releases in NM; 2105 Osuna Rd NE; Albuquerque, NM 87113. Responses submitted by U.S. mail must be received by December 31, 2020.
Please send a copy of your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can be sure it goes into the record.
Thank you for taking action for Mexican wolves!