ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists and a group of scientists are criticizing a draft proposal that outlines options for releasing Mexican gray wolves into the wild.
The plan deals with releasing wolves from captive breeding facilities into the wild in Arizona to replace wolves that are either killed illegally or die from natural causes.
The document suggests the replacement wolves be selected to maximize genetic diversity of the wild population in Arizona and New Mexico.
The scientists and other critics have sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying releases are needed but the plan doesn't do enough to boost the wild population.
They also argue that release decisions should hinge on the federal agency rather than guidelines from the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.
There are around 58 wolves in the wild along the New Mexico-Arizona border.
Comment Letter from Scientists and Conservationists to the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Press Release from the signers of the Comment Letter to the Fish and Wildlife Service here.
PLEASE WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR SUPPORTING GREATER PROTECTIONS AND A BETTER PLAN FOR ENDANGERED MEXICAN WOLVES.
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 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Tips for writing your letter are below, but please write in your own words, from your own experience.
Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points
Below are a few suggestions for ensuring your message gets through clearly-your letter will be most effective if you focus on a few key points, so don’t try to use all of these. If you need additional help or want someone to review your letter before you send it, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start by thanking the paper for publishing the article. This makes your letter immediately relevant and increases its chances of being published.
Remind readers that the last population count found only 58 Mexican gray wolves in the wild and an aggressive genetic rescue program that frees many wolves into the wild is needed. The wild population of Mexican wolves is at tremendous risk due to its small size and genetics and in its proposal for 2013, the Fish and Wildlife Service is planning to only put out one or two more wolves within or next to existing wolves’ territories, and says the new wolves will be killed or removed if they become a “nuisance.”
Call on the Fish and Wildlife Service to expand the area for new wolf releases. Because the Service is using the mere presence of livestock as a justification not to release wolves into a wider range of the available area in Arizona, and because the agency has refused to change the rule that arbitrarily excludes new wolves from being released directly into New Mexico, almost every release alternative in the proposal involves releasing wolves into or near the territory of an existing wild pack. This is less than ideal and can be avoided by changing the rule and using proactive measures with livestock.
Urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to expedite the Mexican gray wolf recovery planning process. A draft recovery plan to replace the outdated 1982 plan has been developed but politics has stalled the recovery planning process. The draft recovery plan should be put out for public comment.
Tell readers why you support wolves and stress that the majority of New Mexico and Arizona voters support the Mexican wolf reintroduction. Polling showed 69% support in New Mexico and 77% support in Arizona.
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.
Describe the ecological benefits of wolves to entire ecosystems and all wildlife. 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.
Keep your letter brief, between 150-300 words.
Provide your name, address, occupation, and phone number; your full address, occupation, and phone number will not be published, but they are required in order to have your letter published.
Please send letters to the Editors of the following publications: