For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Craig Miller 520-623-9653
Mexican Gray Wolf Set to be Relisted as Endangered Subspecies
Feds Proposal will delist gray wolf population in the United States, but preserve protections for Mexican gray wolves
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 26, 2013) – Word broke today of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to relist the Mexican gray wolf as an endangered subspecies while proposing to remove Endangered Species Act protections from all other gray wolves in the rest of the United States. If finalized later this year, the proposal would leave gray wolf protection up to the discretion of individual states, while Mexican gray wolves would still be protected by the Endangered Species Act.
The following is a statement from Craig Miller, Southwest Representative, Defenders of Wildlife:
“With only about 75 wild Mexican gray wolves in the entire world, they need all the protection they can get. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to relist these wolves as an endangered subspecies would appear to signal a renewed commitment to focus on their recovery. But at the same time, prematurely stripping other gray wolves of federal protection under the Endangered Species Act could have negative consequences for Mexican gray wolf recovery.
“If states like Utah and Colorado decide to try to prevent gray wolves from the Northern Rockies from becoming established, how will they distinguish Mexican gray wolves that wander into the state from other gray wolves and afford Mexican gray wolves greater protection? The Service’s actions make protection of Mexican gray wolves much more difficult should they expand into Utah or Colorado and make it unlikely that any wolves will be able to naturally reestablish a presence in the Southern Rockies, a region with excellent suitable habitat where wolves were once found.
“Wolves are an iconic species that provide numerous economic and ecological benefits. They boost tourism in rural areas and are vital to healthy ecosystems. Unfortunately, while a Mexican gray wolf subspecies relisting holds some promise for increased efforts to recover these highly endangered animals, the effect may be hindered by the premature decision to remove protections for gray wolves across the west.”
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.
Photo credit: Jean Ossorio