In the News: After rising to a record 110, count of Mexican wolves has dropped to 97 in Southwest
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- With just 97 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild today in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, this unique sub-species is teetering on the brink of a second extinction.
- Geneticists have warned for years that the wild population needs greater diversity, but the US Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to release new wolves into the wild to improve the wolves’ genetic health.
- For over 3 decades, captive breeding programs in the U.S. and Mexico have worked to maximize genetic diversity so that captive wolves could be released to increase the wild population’s genetic health. But USFWS has released very few of these wolves. The wild population of Mexican gray wolves remains critically endangered and in need of additional populations, new releases to improve the population’s genetics, and a scientifically valid recovery plan.
- Almost 18 years after the first Mexican wolves were reintroduced, there are only 97 wolves in the wild. More wolves are needed to stop inbreeding that researchers suggest may be lowering litter sizes and depressing pup-survival rates.
- The window is closing on fixing the genetic issue, and one of the easiest steps the US Fish and Wildlife Service can take is to release more wolves from captivity, and do it now.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to do more – and do it fast – to save the lobo from extinction. In order for Mexican gray wolves to recover fully, they need more wolf releases, a science-based recovery plan and more wolf populations in suitable habitats.
- The US Fish and Wildlife Service should stop letting anti-wolf state officials obstruct wolf recovery. The last effort to create aMexican wolf recovery plan stalled precisely because the states were given opportunities to weigh in before the work of the scientific experts was released for public comment. The most recent recovery planning process, which began in 2011, ended amidst allegations of political interference by these same states with the science.
- 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.
- States have failed to manage wildlife as a public trust for current and future citizens. State wildlife policies, which kill off predators to supposedly support game populations, are rooted in the 1800s. Fortunately, our national policy is to restore andpreserve all forms of wildlife, including predators. Until the states get serious about balancing conservation vs. consumption, they should recuse themselves from decisions about endangered species.
- Enough is enough. The Service needs to assert its authority and recover the Mexican gray wolf.
- Mexican gray wolves are unique native animals. They are the rarest, most genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf in North America and the most endangered wolf in the world.
- Polling shows that the majority of voters support the Mexican wolf reintroduction.
- Wolves generate economic benefits - a University of Montana study found that visitors who come to see wolves in Yellowstone contribute roughly $35.5 million annually to the regional economy.
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After years of growth, Mexican gray wolf population declines
Submit your letter to the Editor HERE.