N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rescinded an order calling for the shooting of a female Mexican gray wolf believed to have killed too many cows in southwestern New Mexico.
The federal agency says in a letter dated Friday that the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center offered to take the wolf into captivity for research and that the animal won’t be released into the wild again.
The last time the federal agency killed an endangered wolf due to livestock problems was in 2007.
Environmentalists had opposed the order to shoot the wolf.
The Mexican gray wolf was added to the federal endangered species list in 1976, and a captive-breeding program was started.
Please contact decision-makers today and tell them the Fox Mountain alpha female should stay in the wild with her family. Click here for talking points and contact information.
Once you’ve made your calls and emails, please write a letter to the editor, thanking the paper for this article and urging the USFWS to keep this wolf mother with her pups and to release many more wolves into the wild.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Start by thanking paper for publishing this article. This makes your letter immediately relevant and increases its chances of being published.
Inform readers that wolves are social animals who rely on family members in hunting and pup rearing. Trapping or darting this wolf, and removing her forever, would disrupt the pack.
Remind them that, at last count, just 58 wolves, including six breeding pairs, survived in the wild. This is no time to bring back the policy of scapegoating wolves who occasionally prey on livestock.
Explain that the USFWS is using the Fox Mountain alpha wolves’ genetics as an excuse for removing the female, and point out that the reason these pups’ parents are so closely related may be due to the fact that not a single new wolf has been released from the captive-breeding pool since November 2008.
Assert that the way to improve the wild populations’ genetics is to release many new wolves into the wild, so that when the Fox Mountain pups, when they grow up, will be able to find unrelated mates. The wild population is extremely small and vulnerable to threats such as disease, inbreeding, or natural events. The USFWS should end the freeze on new releases of captive wolves into the wild
Let people know that by removing this wolf, the USFWS is depriving four pups born this summer of their mother, harming this family of wolves, and breaking apart one of only a few breeding pairs in the wild.
Convey how important new releases of wolves into the wild are to increase the population’s numbers and genetic health, especially now.
Tell readers why you support wolves and stress that the majority of New Mexico and Arizona voters support the Mexican wolf reintroduction. Polling showed 69% support in New Mexico and 77% support in Arizona.
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.
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.
Keep your letter brief, between 150-300 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.
This Associated Press article was published in multiple papers:
El Paso Times article
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San Francisco Chronicle article
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Submit your letter here
An article on the same topic and an editorial were published in the Albuquerque Journal.
You can submit a letter to the Journal here.
You can read the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Press Release here.
For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Photo courtesy of John Storjohann