SPRINGERVILLE — A news release last week announced the application of a unique candidate to fill a seat on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.
The application for candidate “Esperanza del Arroyo Pantera” was sent to the office of Gov. Doug Ducey on Oct. 26.
The release stated that Esperanza is “. . . a lifelong resident of Greenlee County and a fifth-generation Arizonan who avidly supports the right to hunt.”
The catch? Esperanza isn't a human being. The female Mexican grey wolf's name was submitted on behalf of several activist organizations, including the Western Watersheds Project and the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club.
“Pro-wolf Arizonans have felt underrepresented by the current commission and their votes to limit Endangered Species Act protections for Mexican wolves,” Greta Anderson, the deputy director of the Western Watersheds Project said in the release. “The Game and Fish Commission has consistently ignored the majority of Arizonans (who) want to see wolf populations recover and expand throughout the state.”
The spectacle of the stunt included the application being mailed by a participant in a wolf costume, the application signed and sealed with a paw print, testimony from her “pups” and, perhaps even more bizarre, a candidate statement posted to YouTube containing 30 seconds primarily of wolf howls.
The Mexican wolf fight continues to be the subject of intense debate and scrutiny in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. That's where scientists, in a peer-reviewed paper published in July, place the historical range of the animal.
The endorsement for Esperanza by conservation groups is mostly tongue in cheek but delivers harsh critiques of Ducey's actions with the program.
“Rather than having a knee-jerk, anti-wolf response that is all too common in Arizona's leadership, we urge you to consider the depth, diversity and representation that Esperanza would bring to the commission. We know you've been disinclined to affirm human conservation voices, so why not a canid one?” the application stated.
There has been no response from Ducey or his office.
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 decision-makers. Tips for writing your letter 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.
Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points
- Esperanza's Campaign is a creative way to expose shortcomings of current commission.
- The current commission should be more diverse and have a broader representation of pro-wildlife Arizonans.
- The governor should seek to balance the current agricultural and hunting interests and look towards including non-consumptive wildlife enthusiasts.
- The scientific community largely agrees that the Mexican wolf needs to be recovered in available and appropriate habitat in northern Arizona; the commission's political resistance and insider "science" shouldn't limit real recovery.
- Arizona is given undue influence on wolf recovery under the draft FWS recovery plan and if that plan becomes final, it will be critically important to have a balanced commission.
- I'm pro-wolf and I vote, and I want to see more pro-wolf, pro-predator policies being implemented by the state.
Make sure you:
• Thank the paper for publishing the article
• Submit your letter as soon as possible. The chance of your letter being published declines after a day or two since the article was published
• Do not repeat any negative messages from the article, such as “so and so said that wolves kill too many cows, but…” Remember that those reading your letter will not be looking at the article it responds to, so this is an opportunity to get out positive messages about wolf recovery rather than to argue with the original article
• Keep your letter brief, under 250 words
• 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.
What is Next?
November 7, 2017
Commission Board will review and select applicants for the 2018 vacancy on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. Meeting is open to the public. More info HERE.
November 15, 2017
Commission Board will conduct interviews with candidates who were selected at the Nov 7 meeting. They will select 2 to 5 finalists to present to Gov. Doug Duecy to make the appointment. Meeting is open to the public.
"Per Arizona State Statute 17-202, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission Appointment Recommendation Board shall assist the governor by interviewing, evaluating and recommending candidates for appointment to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The Commission Appointment Recommendation Board shall recommend at least two, but no more than five, candidates to the governor. The governor must select and appoint a commissioner from the list submitted by the board."