White Mountain Independent – July 27, 2018
As a conservationist and a lifelong desert resident, I would like to put in a few observations regarding the consistently hostile Arizona Game and Fish Department's (AZGF) statement on releasing wolves from captive breeding situations to wild spaces. First of all, it looks like they are speaking with a distinct lack of honesty and expertise.
While the AZGF wildlife science coordinator confuses readers by saying “The sobering truth is that in the last decade, no captive-raised adult wolf released in the wild has subsequently raised pups in the wild to contribute to the gene pool.” What he fails to mention is that in the last decade there have been no releases of well-bonded adult wolves with pups. In fact, not only was the last adult release in 2015, there were only four other adult releases during the period 2008 through 2014. Could his vested interest in avoiding the political challenges of adult releases have clouded his statistical training? When it comes to credibility, the Department spokesperson’s claims of “misleading and disingenuous statements” should acknowledge a little history: The initial reintroduction of Mexican wolves, over Arizona’s objections, came as a result of a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD).
The current 2015 reintroduction rule came as a result of a 2004 petition for rule making by CBD followed by a successful lawsuit in 2012. In contrast, Arizona’s attempts to limit wolf reintroduction include the 2011 limitation on releasing only “replacement” wolves for those killed in Arizona – later followed by a complete refusal to release any adults no matter how well bonded a family unit. What is the real reason behind touting cross-fostering as the best (and only) remedy for Mexican wolf genetic recovery? By definition, and basic biology, captive born pups cross fostered into wild dens can only be placed in existing dens. They don’t involve public outreach to create awareness and acceptance of wolves being released into the thousands of square miles which the reintroduction rule specifies may be used for new releases and translocations. Far easier – and more politically expedient – to put pups into the same ol’-same ol’ and hope they survive, pair up, and conceive more wolves who will establish new territories – but not too far from the parents or too fast to cause problems for the current Department officials. We cannot let misinformation and laziness dictate our public policy when it comes to anything, especially wildlife management.
White Mountain Independent – July 27, 2018
One thing that comes to mind after reading this article is the extreme importance of genetic divinity in a wild animal populations ... and how many wild Mexican wolves are left in the Southwest? By last count there are just 108! And how many of those 108 wolves are covering hundreds if not thousands square of miles? Wouldn't inbreeding be a huge problem with such a small group? This brings up another question. How many new breeding wolf adults have been released into the wild? My records show 4 or 5 since 2008? Last one was in 2015! And those released were deemed replacement wolves for the ones that had already been killed. So with so few wolves left.
It seems more than obvious that we need more of them as soon as possible in order that better and healthier population is maintained. So then if there are captive Mexican wolves with greater genetic diversity to lend to the already dwindling wild population, then why not release those wolves so they can help renew the gene pool? Or is it as I suspect. You're just hoping that these last wolves will make it on their own? Meanwhile what few are left continue to get shot and killed. Look. Over a million invasive cattle grazing are on our public lands verses a 108 indigenous wild Mexican Wolves on them left. Such odds make me wonder if underneath this article (and other like articles and statements) you folks are just making up more lame excuses to further undermine wild Mexican Wolf population?
In closing I'm asking you as state wildlife people (the Arizona Game and Fish) to stop making up more excuses and to start showing us that you really are doing something to support the last wild Mexican wolves.
Santa Fe New Mexican – July 29, 2018
I, too, am sick of the spoiled, subsidized livestock industry complaining about wolves, coyotes and other wild animals (“Doesn’t make sense,” Letters to the editor, July 15). This destructive industry has never been a friend of wildlife. It receives millions of taxpayer dollars, has federal agencies poison, trap and shoot animals and burn out dens so it can turn our public lands into domestic feed lots. It’s time to end public lands ranching.
Want to save wolves? Demand that all grazing permits be canceled in the Gila area, for a start. Organize wolf patrols to monitor and protect wolf packs, just as they do in Africa with other wildlife. Work with groups like the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project to reintroduce wolves to Colorado, so wolves can migrate back and forth.
Unless caring people stand up and stop compromising with this environmentally destructive industry, wildlife will continue to suffer and die.