By JIM SECKLER
KINGMAN — The county supervisors will again voice their objection Tuesday to a federal plan to reintroduce the wolf in Mohave County.
District 1 Sup. Gary Watson of Kingman is asking the board to object to a draft of the Environmental Impact Statement.
The supervisors voted in November to send a letter stating their opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s plan to reintroduce the Mexican wolf into Arizona and Mohave County south of Interstate 40. There are about 85 Mexican gray wolves in the wild in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.
Watson said the Fish and Wildlife Service did not hold public hearings in Arizona. Mohave County also does not contain the food supply for the wolf including available deer and elk. Watson also said there is insufficient evidence that Mohave County was even in the Mexican wolf’s historical habitat.
Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter Director Sandy Bahr said the Fish and Wildlife Service should allow wolves to roam into the greater Grand Canyon area and not constrain the wolf within the two states. The USFWS also should not expand provisions that allow wolves to be removed or killed to avoid conflicts with cattle, Bahr said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mexican gray wolves have not killed anyone in North America. However, cows kill an average of 22 people each year by crushing or stomping a person.
Wolves also kill only 0.1 percent of cattle compared to dogs which cause 0.8 percent of cattle deaths. The leading cause of cattle deaths are respiratory failure at 22 percent and digestive problems at 14 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, weather causes 8.6 percent of cattle deaths while theft causes 2 percent.
Watson is also asking the board to join in a lawsuit with American Stewards of Liberty against the Fish and Wildlife Service. The lawsuit aims to take the Hualapai Mexican vole off the federal endangered list. The vole is a mouse-size rodent that was considered endangered in 1987. The vole is thought to live only in the Hualapai Mountains and possibly in the Music Mountains. American Stewards of Liberty of Texas is an organization that protects private properties by advocating the removal of species from the federal endangered list.
Bahr said the Endangered Species Act is designed to protect all species, big and small, and prevent their extinction and protect the county’s habitat and plants and animals that depend on it.
The board of supervisors will meet at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the county administration building, 700 W. Beale St. in Kingman.
This article was published by the Mohave Valley Daily News.
Submit a letter to the editor responding to this article, and influence decision-makers and thousands of your fellow citizens. Tips and talking points are below, but please write in your own words, from your own experience. Don’t try to include all the talking points in your letter.
With fewer than 90 Mexican gray wolves in the wild, US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to make changes that could push them closer to extinction or finally help them thrive. The decision will be made in the next few months and they need to hear from you!
- Start by thanking the paper for publishing this article.
- Wolves once lived throughout Arizona and New Mexico and played a critical role in keeping the balance of nature in place. The Mohave County Supervisors should be supporting the restoration of this important animal that has been missing for too long.
- Wolves need freedom from boundaries. Under the current rule, Mexican wolves are trapped if they go outside the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. The USFWS proposal does not propose to reintroduce wolves into new areas, but rather to allow them to roam throughout a larger area. The wolves will establish themselves in suitable areas with adequate game. They will naturally avoid places with high densities of humans and low prey availability. USFWS must change the rules that do not allow wolves to establish new packs and populations in additional areas that are essential to their recovery.
- Polling has shown repeatedly that the vast majority of Arizonans support wolf recovery. An ever-growing body of research shows that wolves are key to restoring wild places, and wolf-related tourism can bring significant income into communities. Mohave County’s Supervisors are acting against the best interests of their constituents when they oppose Mexican wolf recovery.
- People who care about wolves have an important opportunity to speak out for their recovery through September 23, 2014. Comments can be submitted electronically here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056-6056. More information can be found at mexicanwolves.org.
- USFWS should not allow more killing of critically endangered wolves. The draft proposal will push Mexican gray wolves towards extinction by allowing many more of them to be killed under all kinds of justifications. With fewer than 90 in the wild, every wolf is important. These native lobos need more protections, not less.
- Additional populations of Mexican wolves north of I-40 are necessary to their recovery and genetic health, as is the ability for wolves to move between populations. Capturing and moving wolves because they roam beyond an artificial boundary is always a risky business that can result in death or trauma to the wolf.
Make sure you:
- Thank the paper for publishing the article.
- Keep your letter brief, between 150-300 words.
- Make your letter personal. Don’t be afraid to use humor or personal stories. Include something about who you are and why you care: E.g. “I am a mother, outdoors person, teacher, business owner, scientific, religious, etc.”
- Provide your name, address, phone number and address. The paper won’t publish these, but they want to know you are who you say you are.
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