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LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT: 16 Arizona Legislators stand up for wolves

LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT:  16 Arizona Legislators stand up for wolves

This letter was sent by members of the AZ state legislature who understand the importance of Mexican gray wolves, to counter attempts by other elected officials to undermine the Endangered Species Act and place Mexican wolves in even greater danger of extinction in the wild.  You can use the information at the end of the letter to thank these legislators and/or educate those who have failed to speak out for lobos.


March 8, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500-0001

Dear President Obama and Members of the Arizona Congressional Delegation,

We are writing to express our concerns and opposition to efforts in the United States Congress to remove and exclude Mexican gray wolves from the endangered species list as well as to proposals to defund the program to recover this critically endangered animal.
The Mexican gray wolf is the most endangered wolf in the world with only one population of 50 animals in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.  This is not the time to remove protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act, the act that has given these animals and us, for that matter, a second chance.  To remove these protections would doom this animal to a second extinction in the wild.

Mexican gray wolves need federal protection.  Their numbers declined for years when the states had a large role in their management and the program is now getting back on track with a new recovery team and the drafting of a new recovery plan.  The aggressive removal of wolves in the wild has also diminished.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with the states and tribes, is helping ranchers to coexist with wolves by investing in the use of extra range riders, special fencing, fladry (cloth flags hung on fences that wolves avoid), supplemental feed to move cattle away from dens, and other techniques.   Efforts are focused on prevention rather than addressing problems after the fact.  Without adequate funding (the state and tribal programs also use federal funding), this work with ranchers and communities will end.  The Arizona Game and Fish Department, Arizona’s wildlife agency, will not be able to fund this work or manage this program on its own.

There is strong support among the public for reintroduction and recovery of Mexican gray wolves.  In a 2008 poll (Research and Polling, Inc. in Albuquerque), 69% of New Mexicans and 77% of Arizonans supported the reintroduction of Mexican wolves in their state.

In the Yellowstone region wolf tourism brings in at least $35 million annually to local communities.  In Arizona and New Mexico, wolf-centered tourism is beginning as a few outfitters, Fish and Game Department programs and specialty tours take folks out to search for Mexican wolves.  One promising new tour developed by the White Mountain Apache tribe combines wolf howling, camera “trapping” for wolves, and cultural activities.  Tourism options and revenue will increase as wolf numbers do — bringing a new source of revenue to communities. 

Top predators such as wolves are critical to healthy ecosystems.  There is significant research that has demonstrated that important role in places such as Yellowstone. 

There are many reasons to keep the protections in place afforded by the Endangered Species Act, but the most important is that we have a responsibility to recover these animals for the sake of the land, its wildlife, and future generations.  Please reject efforts to remove the life line for this critically endangered animal — say no to legislation to remove them from the endangered species list and to defunding the recovery efforts.

With warm regards,

Representative Chad Campbell                        
House Minority Leader                   
Legislative District 14

Representative Steve Farley
Assistant House Minority Leader
Legislative District 28

Representative Matt Heinz
House Minority Whip
Legislative District 27

Representative Eric Meyer       
Legislative District 11

Representative Anna Tovar
Legislative District 13

Representative Lela Alston
Legislative District 15

Representative Katie Hobbs        
Legislative District 15

Representative Ruben Gallego
Legislative District 8

Representative Bruce Wheeler
Legislative District 28

Representative Daniel Patterson           
Legislative District 29

Senator David Schapira
Senate Minority Leader
Legislative District 17

Senator Jack Jackson, Jr.
Legislative District 2

Senator Kyrsten Sinema
Legislative District 15

Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford
Legislative District 27

Senator Paula Aboud
Legislative District 28

Senator Linda Lopez
Legislative District 29

cc: Senators John McCain, Jon Kyl
      Congressmen Paul Gosar, Trent Franks
      Ben Quayle, Ed Pastor, David Schweikert
     Jeff Flake, Raul Grijalva, Gabrielle Giffords


If your Representative/Senator is one of the supporters above, be sure to write or call them and thank them for speaking out for Mexican gray wolves.  If they are not one of the signers, please contact them and tell them why wolf recovery is important for our Southwest ecosystem. 

House Contacts
Senate Contacts

For talking points about what healthy recovery looks like, see our “Recovery Solutions” page.

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