150 WORDS FROM YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EXTINCTION AND SURVIVAL
Mexican gray wolves need your help to stop Congress from taking away the safety net of the Endangered Species Act. Thanks to this popular wildlife law, we still have wolves in New Mexico and Arizona playing their part in the balance of nature.
Just 50 Mexican wolves remain in the wild today. While their numbers have improved modestly in the last year, they are teetering on the brink of extinction.
Now is not the time for Congress to remove protections for imperiled Mexican wolves and open the door for state wildlife agencies like the Arizona Game and Fish Department to kill wolves when they inconvenience livestock owners.
Wildlife officials in Wyoming have said they would allow wolves to be shot, trapped, and poisoned on sight. The state of Idaho’s official position is that there should be zero wolves in the state. Montana wants to institute a wolf hunting season.
If the bills introduced by Congressman Rehberg and Senator Hatch or similar bills pass, the fate of gray wolves will be decided by state agencies that say they would kill them. This is like putting banks in charge of financial reform.
This is the greatest threat to the Mexican wolf’s survival since its first extinction in the wild around 1980, when the last seven were protected and later bred in captivity. The nearly extinct lobo was reintroduced because of the Endangered Species Act.
That’s why people are calling these bills what they really are: wolf extinction bills.
And they put more than wolves in peril - they threaten all wildlife and the Endangered Species Act itself. Never before has Congress stripped ESA protection from a single species - this sets a dangerous precedent to let any animal go extinct based on political whims rather than the sound science the ESA requires.
You can tell your members of Congress, your state government, and hundreds to thousands of your fellow citizens to stop wolf extinction bills with one short letter, IF YOU SEND IT TO A NEWSPAPER.
Surveys show that the letters page is one of the most closely read parts of the paper. It's also the page policy-makers look to as a barometer of public opinion. If you mention AZ Game and Fish and/or Senators Kyl, McCain, Udall, and Bingaman in your letter, the agency or Senator’s staff will most likely see that letter during a regular scan of the media.
Mexican wolves are worth writing 150 words to save. Please write a letter to the editor today and ask everyone you know to do the same.
Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points
This is your letter, so write in your own words, from your own experience. Below are a few suggestions for ensuring your message gets through clearly; if you need additional help or want someone to review your letter before you send it, email it to email@example.com:
* Stress that only about 50 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild; now is not the time to remove them from the protection of the Endangered Species Act.
* Encourage your Senators by name to fight all bills that would weaken the Endangered Species Act and place wolves at greater risk of extinction and ask your fellow citizens to speak up against them.
* Point out that these bills set a precedent that endangers all wildlife.
* Talk about your personal connection to wolves and why the issue is important to you. If you’re a grandmother wanting your grandchildren to have the opportunity to hear wolves in the wild, or a hunter who recognizes that wolves make game herds healthier, or a businessperson who knows that wolves have brought millions in ecotourism dollars to Yellowstone, say so.
* Share your positive impressions of why it’s important to keep wolves in New Mexico and Arizona. Talk about the need for solutions, like a new federal wolf recovery plan.
* Address a specific article, editorial or letter that recently appeared in the paper you are writing to. This can be anything about Mexican wolves, extinction legislation, the recent population count, gray wolves in general, etc. Look here for recent relevant news articles.
* Keep your letter between 150-300 words, depending on the paper’s limit.
* Provide your name, address and phone number; your full address and phone number will not be published, but they are required in order to have your letter published.
* Feel free to write one letter and revise it for several papers, including papers outside where you live.
* Arizona Republic (200 words)
* Arizona Daily Star (150 words): firstname.lastname@example.org
* Arizona Daily Sun (250 words): email@example.com
* Albuquerque Journal (be brief
* Santa Fe New Mexican (150 words)
* Las Cruces Sun-News (300 words): firstname.lastname@example.org
* Silver City Sun News (300 words): email@example.com
* Silver City Daily Press (500 words): firstname.lastname@example.org
* LA Times (150 words): email@example.com
* High Country News (be brief)
Even with Endangered Species Act protections, Mexican gray wolves are struggling. Please write a letter to the editor today, even if it’s the only letter you will ever write for wildlife.
Thank you for taking action for the wolves. We’d love to hear about your letters and to help, so please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on our Facebook page to share your submission or ask for support. More background about the issues with wolf extinction legislation can be found here.
Photo credit: Mexican gray wolf courtesy of Nathan Renn: http://rennphotography.com/