By Michael D. Regan
The Mexican gray wolf almost disappeared in the 1970s. But four decades later, its reintroduction to the wild still spawns controversy and sheds light on mankind's changing perspectives on policy.
It has been four decades since the Mexican gray wolf nearly fell to extinction.
Ostracized as vermin and portrayed as man-killers, they once numbered in the thousands before almost disappearing.
Yet, despite a 1998 federal plan for reintroduction to Arizona and New Mexico, the largest [smallest] gray wolf species remains one of the most endangered animals in the world.
The reintroduction plan for the Mexican gray wolf called for bolstering the number living in the wild to 100 by 2006. The program has had some success, even as it has fallen considerably short of those initial projections.
The latest government statistics show roughly 110 wolves are now living in the wild. Among those, eight breeding pairs can be found in Gila and Apache national forests spanning the two Southwest states.
But even with the backing of the federal government, reintroducing wolves doesn’t always have an easy solution. A permit request by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce the Mexican gray wolf into parts New Mexico this year was denied by the state-controlled New Mexico Department of Fish and Game, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
The FWS announced in mid-October it would use its federal authority to subvert opposition and push to install the wolf recovery program, according to the Journal.
Yet reintroducing wolves and other species remain essential to their recoveries, according to New Mexico’s Center of Biological Diversity, an advocacy group pushing for an increase in state’s biodiversity.
“Releasing Mexican wolves to the wild is the only way to save these animals from extinction,” said one of the group’s advocates, Michael Robinson, to the Journal. “It’s vital now that enough wolves get released to diversify their gene pool and ensure they don’t waste away from inbreeding.”
Stand for Mexican wolf recovery
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said that it is going to proceed with their plans to release Mexican wolves into the wild, despite opposition from state agencies. It is important that we stay in communication with Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, and USFWS Director, Dan Ashe, to make sure that they stay the course and work to improve the genetic health of the wild population.
Unfortunately, federal agencies too-often bow to anti-wolf states and make decisions that are not in the best interest of Mexican gray wolf recovery. So in cases like this, where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to go forward with urgently needed releases in spite of state opposition, we want to give them lots of support and appreciation.
Please call or email Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and thank them for their commitment to recover Mexican wolves. Let them know that this issue is important to you and you will be closely watching for the new releases.
Secretary Sally Jewell: Phone: (202) 208-7351. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Director Dan Ashe: Phone (202) 208-4717. Emails can be sent to email@example.com orhttp://www.fws.gov/duspit/contactus.htm
Talking points for your calls or emails:
- I want to thank Secretary Jewell and Director Ashe for embracing their mission to recover endangered Mexican gray wolves and thoughtfully making a science-driven decision to move forward with releases to improve the wild wolf population’s genetic health.
- I hope that the decision to refuse to allow states to prevent actions necessary for Mexican wolf recovery will also apply to Arizona.
- I want to encourage the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue to follow the best available science and be willing to adaptively manage to improve the lobos’ genetic health -- even if that requires more and faster releases than have originally been estimated.
If you email, be sure to include your full name and address so that they know this is a legitimate message.
- Thank you for doing the right thing for endangered Mexican gray wolves.
THANK YOU FOR ACTING TO ENSURE THE FUTURE OF THESE SPECIAL WOLVES!
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