1. While proposing to release a few new wolves into the wild after four years of no releases is a step in the right direction, the Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Replacement Release Outline for Arizona 2013 is inadequate.
2. The resumption of killing and removing endangered Mexican wolves over livestock conflicts outlined in the Pack Management Plan is unacceptable. Policies like those described in the plan are one of the reasons the Mexican wolf population numbers and genetic health are still of such great concern.
3. If the Mexican gray wolf is going to succeed, several critical steps must be implemented immediately:
- Develop, adopt, and implement an aggressive genetic rescue/re-rescue plan;
- Revise the Endangered Species Act Section 10(j) rule to authorize direct releases of captive-raised Mexican wolves to any geographic location within the designated BRWRA (currently new wolves can only be released into Arizona, which excludes excellent habitat in New Mexico);
- Restore decision authority to the USFWS for wolf release decisions (this release proposal came from the AZ Game and Fish Department, and is clearly written to accord with a directive from the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to accept releases only to replace wolves illegally killed in Arizona the previous year);
- Eliminate “presence of livestock” as a rationale for excluding areas from consideration for wolf releases (There are plenty of places to release wolves in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, but many appear to be excluded simply because of active livestock grazing operations in the project area; proactive measures have been successfully used to avoid depredations and the recovery of Mexican gray wolves is the appropriate priority); and
- Resume and expedite recovery planning for the Mexican gray wolf (The recovery planning process for the Mexican wolf is currently stalled and significantly behind schedule. At this point, the release of a draft Recovery Plan is not expected until sometime in 2014. Mexican wolves need and deserve better performance by the USFWS).
Please add anything else you would like, and include your name and address with your comments.
For more information on the proposal, click here.
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