In the News: Activists, ranchers battle over federal wolf kills
Letter to the Editor today!
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a legal and moral obligation to recover endangered Mexican gray wolves. Killing wolves is in direct conflict of this directive. And it perpetuates a failed policy of scapegoating wolves who occasionally prey on cattle. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should prioritize getting the livestock moved instead.
- The Fish and Wildlife Service initiated these lethal removal orders at the peak of denning season. In addition to disrupting the pack dynamics, this disturbance could cause the denning mothers additional stress or prompt them to move their dens at this critical time.
- Wolves account for less than 0.2% of all cattle losses. At last count, there were 163 wolves in the wild across Arizona and New Mexico. According to the US Dept. of Agriculture, there are 2.5 million cattle in Arizona and New Mexico.
- The livestock industry has a responsibility to share public lands with wolves and other wildlife. Wolves are responsible for less than 1% of livestock losses in New Mexico and there are many tried and true methods to avoid conflicts between livestock and wolves.
- There are many solutions to conflicts between livestock and wolves. There are very few Mexican gray wolves. Livestock businesses on public lands are reimbursed for losses and can receive government and non-profit assistance for non-lethal measures to avoid depredation. They have a responsibility to do so. Deterrents to livestock conflicts are the solution, not removing more endangered Mexican wolves.
- These incidents all occurred in Catron County, New Mexico – a hotbed of wolf-livestock conflict and strong opposition to wolf recovery. In fact, the total number of incidents and depredations reported over the last 12 months shows Catron County recorded more than twice as many reports as any other County in the Recovery area. One can’t help but wonder what are the ranchers in other areas doing that Catron County ranchers aren’t doing to reduce conflicts.
- The wild population of Mexican wolves suffers from declining genetic health, resulting from too many removals and too few releases from the captive breeding population.
- Thank the paper for their coverage of this important issue. This makes your letter immediately relevant and increases its chances of being published.
- 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 150 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.
- Submit your letter to the editor of the Albuquerque Journal or any other paper that picked this up TODAY!