By Julie Cart
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week ordered the death of a female Mexican gray wolf after the animal was discovered hanging around a group of domestic dogs.
The lone 4-year-old female was shot and killed in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest on Wednesday after she was apparently attracted to domestic dogs at a private residence. The female had earlier this year mated with a dog and given birth to a litter of five hybrid pups. Four of the pups were euthanized and the fifth has not been found.
The five-year Mexican wolf reintroduction program has so far failed to recover the animals, and more wolves are being held in captive facilities than are free in the wild. Wildlife biologists say that when female wolves fail to find a male wolf as a mate, they pair with domestic dogs, producing wolf-dog hybrids that are usually put down by wildlife authorities.
PLEASE WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 the article (click on the paper’s title to see the article as they published it):
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 Jean Ossorio