Wolf News


New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Proposes Rule Change

Speak Up For Mexican Wolves Today!

What is Happening?

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) is proposing to change its Importation Rule that impacts Mexican gray wolves, and many other protected species, by governing how they may be brought into the state of New Mexico. Read more about the Importation Rule, 19.35.7 NMAC proposed changes. The proposed changes benefit Mexican wolves, while what is currently in place does not.

What Does the Importation Rule Mean?

Mexican wolf recovery depends on many partners, including the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP), the captive breeding program for Mexican wolves. Managing the captive breeding population for genetic diversity and the health and welfare of the wolves involved requires the ability to transfer wolves from one partner institution to another when that is recommended by scientists, government officials, and animal care staff.

These experts need to be able to obtain the appropriate state import permits when wolves need to be moved into captive facilities in New Mexico. Delays in the review and approval of import permits are harmful to individual wolves and to recovery efforts.

The current Importation Rule treats carnivores differently than other species. It also states that the Commission is responsible for reviewing importation permit applications, which often results in a lengthy process before a decision is reached.

The proposed changes to rule will have the following benefits:

  • All species will be treated equally, rather than singling out carnivores like the wolf, ensuring consistency in decision-making for importation permits.
  • NMDGF staff can act in a more timely manner than the Commission, improving efficiency and preventing delays that hurt wolves.
  • NMDGF is a cooperating agency working with the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, which means that Department staff are working closely with the US Fish and Widlife Service (USFWS) and have the expertise and on-the-ground experience to effectively review importation permit applications.
  • The public will continue to have input through the public comment period for the annual Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area Initial Release and Translocation Proposal prepared by USFWS.
  • The public can also continue to contact NMDGF and USFWS with any questions or concerns.
  • This state rule change does not diminish public input into how endangered species recovery efforts are managed on the ground, and USFWS retains the ultimate authority in recovering endangered species.
  • NMDGF will continue to work with local governments to keep them informed.
  • NMDGF also notifies landowners if anything will take place near their property.
  • The State Game Commission will continue to have oversight over NMDGF, and USFWS will continue to manage the recovery of Mexican wolves in the wild. While the proposed rule changes give NMDGF directors the authority to approve importation permits, there will continue to be accountability in that process.
  • No negative impacts on zoos and aquariums are anticipated if the proposed changes are adopted as written. In fact, institutions that partner with NMDGF to support endangered species recovery will likely see benefits in more timely processing of importation permit applications.

Learn More

The following documents are provided by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish:

Proposed Changes Importation Rule 19.35.7 NMAC

Presentation Importation Rule 19.35.7 NMAC

Draft Importation Rule 19.35.7 NMAC Underline Strikethrough


Please sumbit your comments no later than October 15 to ensure your comment is recorded before the Commission makes its decision on October 16, 2020.

Comments on the proposed changes can be provided by email to: dgf-importation.rule@state.nm.us

Or by mail to: 

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

PO Box 25112

Santa Fe, NM 87504

Attn: Importation Rule Amendments

The New Mexico State Game Commission will be voting on the proposed changes at their October 16, 2020, public meeting, which will be broadcast via Zoom.  There will be limited opportunity to provide verbal comments at the meeting, so we are encouraging supporters to submit written comments before the meeting.

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