Silver City, N.M.— On the 14th anniversary of the reintroduction of endangered Mexican gray wolves to the wild in the Southwest, 30 conservation organizations, scientists, and animal-protection and sportsmen groups urged Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Thursday to release Mexican wolves from the captive-breeding program into the wild this year since no release has occurred since 2008. The letter also asks Salazar to allow the release of captive-bred wolves to New Mexico, which is currently prohibited.
Both measures would help stop the loss of genetic diversity among Mexican wolves in the wild, increasing the chance that this unique but highly vulnerable gray wolf subspecies may recover. Only 58 wolves, including just six breeding pairs, were counted in the wild in January 2012. The letter to Salazar documents that inbreeding may be lowering the number of pups that are born and survive.
“President Obama’s government has failed to release even a single Mexican wolf from the captive-breeding program,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Scientists have practically begged the bureaucrats to release more wolves, to no avail. So we’re now asking Secretary Ken Salazar for his personal attention and quick action to rescue the inbred Mexican wolf population by releasing more wolves.”
“Time is running out for endangered Mexican wolves,” said Kevin Bixby, executive director of the Southwest Environmental Center. “After more than a decade of bureaucratic inaction, wolves cannot wait any longer. We are calling on the Fish and Wildlife Service to use its existing authority to take immediate action to get more wolves on the ground before this magnificent creature goes extinct in the wild — for the second time in living memory, only this time it will be government bureaucrats not trappers that are the cause of its demise.”
“Wolves help protect streamside vegetation from overgrazing by elk, as the experience in Yellowstone National Park shows,” said Donna Stevens, a botanist who is executive director of the Upper Gila Watershed Alliance. “We need more Mexican wolves not just for their own sake and to ensure this unique animal’s survival, but also for the health of the entire ecosystem.”
Contact Info: Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity, (575) 534-0360
Kevin Bixby, Southwest Environmental Center, (575) 522-5552 or (575) 649-7260 (cell)
Donna Stevens, Upper Gila Watershed Alliance, (575) 590-5698
Read the full article here.
To read the letter sent to Secretary Salazar, click here.
Now it’s your turn to tell the Fish and Wildlife Service to release more Mexican wolvws into the wild.
Although more wolves are desperately needed to strengthen the wild population’s genetics and increase their numbers, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the agency responsible for restoring the Mexican wolf, has not released any new wolves into the wild since November 2008.
Please join us for a rally at the US Fish and Wildlife Regional Office on April 13 to show support for the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program and more releases. Click here for more information.
If you can’t make the rally, you can still help by sending an email to USFWS Southwest Regional Director Dr. Benjamin Tuggle and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking them to release more wolves. CLICK HERE TO SEND AN EMAIL TO SECRETARY SALAZAR AND DIRECTOR TUGGLE.
Thank you for all you do.