Wolf News


Action Alert: More Wolves — Less Politics Campaign

For far too long, the Service has allowed anti-wolf politics to drive Mexican wolves towards extinction.

40 years after being listed under the Endangered Species Act, Mexican gray wolves, or “lobos” are the most endangered gray wolf in the world, with only 97 in the wild according to the last official population count. This is a 12% decrease from the count done in 2015.

Instead of doing what’s needed to ensure the survival of these special wolves, the Fish and Wildlife Service has consistently given in to political pressure from anti-wolf special interests, keeping the lobo at the brink of extinction.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has never released enough wolves from captivity, not only impeding a steady increase in the lobos’ numbers but also triggering a continual loss of genetic diversity in the wild lobo population, resulting in smaller litters, lower pup survival and the population is less able to adapt over time to changing conditions.

A captive breeding program was established for the lobo in the 1980s. The captive population still has genes not represented in the wild population. Therefore, releases from this population would help increase the genetic diversity in the wild population.

Time is running out for the Mexican gray wolf. The Fish and Wildlife Service must immediately release families of wolves from captivity to beat the clock of lobo extinction.

A draft plan with recovery criteria for the Mexican gray wolf was written in 2011 by a team of the nation’s top wolf scientists, who were appointed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Mexican wolf recovery plan Science and Planning subgroup.

But instead of moving forward with the scientists’ draft plan, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has allowed political interference to stall the recovery planning process and undermine the science.

Why? Because the four states containing habitat that is necessary for the Mexican wolf to achieve recovery are politically opposed to the scientists’ recommendations, which include two new populations of wolves north of Interstate 40, increased numbers of wolves, and reduced human-caused wolf mortality.

Instead of moving forward with the science based recommendations from recognized wolf experts and the recovery planning team established over four years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now holding closed door meetings to discuss the Mexican wolf recovery plan with representatives from  Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah who have repeatedly demonstrated their opposition to wolves.
Tell US Fish and Wildlife Service 
Lobos need improved genetics and a science based recovery plan!

A sample message is below-remember that it will be most effective written in your own words, from your own experience.

Dear Secretary Jewell,

Mexican gray wolves are important to me and the majority of voters, and their recovery can help restore ecological health to our wildlands. But there is no up-to-date, valid recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves, and new management rules for the wolves contradict the recovery recommendations of leading wolf experts. 

Very few wolves have been released into the wild and this year, the wild population declined for the first time in six years, from 110 wolves last year to only 97. 

Instead of allowing political interference by the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, the US Fish and Wildlife Service must expedite the release of adults and families of wolves from captivity and must move forward with the draft recovery plan based on the work of the science planning subgroup.

Obstruction by anti-wolf special interests and politics has kept this small population of unique and critically endangered wolves at the brink of extinction for too long and can no longer be allowed to do so.  Development of a new recovery plan and expedited releases that will together address decreased genetic health and ensure long-term resiliency in Mexican wolf populations must move forward without delay or political interference.


[Your name and address]

You can make your letter more compelling by talking about your personal connection to wolves and why the issue is important to you.  If you’re a camper or hiker wanting 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.

Please email your letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.

You can also copy your email to your members of congress, whose contact information https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members. Include your full name, address, and phone number.


Additional information:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun failed recovery planning processes for the Mexican gray wolf three times in the past decade. The most recent recovery planning process, which began in 2011, stalled amidst allegations of political interference with the science. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed a scientific integrity complaint saying that USFWS has allowed politics to interfere with the new Mexican wolf recovery planning process by encouraging scientists to lower or forgo the numeric target for recovery, responding to demands to exclude Utah and other states from suitable habitat, and attempting to prevent the science subgroup from issuing final Mexican wolf recovery criteria.

In 2012, United States Congressman Raul Grijalva — AZ sent a letter to the Secretary of the Interior asking for a full and fair investigation of the allegations of political interference.

The American Society of Mammalogists, the Society for Conservation Biology, and the Society for Ecological Restoration sent a letter to USFWS urging the government to immediately resume recovery planning for the Mexican wolf, and offering their assistance to help move the process forward.

Thank you for adding your voice on behalf of these important animals who cannot speak for themselves.


Add your name to these petitions

Southwest Environmental Center petition to FWS Directors, Dan Ashe, Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, and NM Governor Susana Martinez

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance petition to USFWS


Learn More About Wolf Genetics
Watch Mexican Wolf Briefing

This video presentation by Rich Fredrickson, a geneticist who is a member of the current Mexican wolf recovery team, explains the importance of releasing more endangered Mexican gray wolves from the captive population into the wild.

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