By Christine Steele email@example.com
SILVER CITY – Several dozen protesters made their voices heard on the issue of wolf reintroduction during a demonstration Friday afternoon outside WNMU’s Global Resource Center Auditorium. The protest was scheduled to coincide with the speaking engagement of Benjamin Tuggle, regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Southwest Region, who was invited to speak on the issue of climate change at the Third Annual Gila Symposium being held this week at the university.
Protesters marched peacefully up and down the sidewalk outside the Global Resource Center, holding signs that said, “We want wolves in the Gila N F” and “Donde Estan Los Lobos” and “USFWS Free our Wolves.” The mostly quiet demonstration was marked by the occasional wolf howl.
“People are here because they want to speak to Dr. Tuggle to say ‘We want wolves in the Gila,'” said Rinda Metz, who organized the demonstration. “They hear a lot from the other side.”
Metz said ranchers and others who don’t support wolf reintroduction are vocal in their opposition, and the demonstration was an opportunity for those who support wolves being reintroduced into the Gila to let their voices be heard by the head of the Wildlife Services Southwest Region.
“They postponed the release of eight wolves that are in captivity and we’re not sure why,” she said. “The recovery plan was written in 1982. A second plan that was established in 1995 has been disbanded and in 2005 another recovery team was assembled and that was disbanded. It seems like they are stalling.”
Tuggle, who has been the Regional Director of the Southwest Region of Fish and Wildlife since 2006, said the protesters were civil and he welcomed the opportunity to talk with them.
Christine Steele can be reached at (575) 538-5893 ext. 5802
To read the full article, published in the Silver City Sun-News on October 16, 2010, and post a comment, click here.
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Photo credit: Benjamin Tuggle at the pro-wolf protest in Silver City, New Mexico (Jenny Robinson)