Just a few days before Valentine’s Day, the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) again ordered that a critically endangered wild Mexican gray wolf be trapped for permanent removal from the wild.
Your calls are needed to stop this from happening.
Almost sixteen years after they were reintroduced, Mexican gray wolves remain at the brink of extinction. At last official count, there were only 83 in the wild. Every single wild Mexican wolf is important, yet USFWS continues to treat these wolves as expendable.
Right now, the government plans to capture an uncollared yearling wolf from the Fox Mountain pack territory even though they have no way of knowing if the wolf they take is responsible for livestock losses.
And because USFWS won’t know anything about the wolf they trap until it’s too late, they may take a wolf whose genetics are greatly valuable.
They may well trap and remove a wolf who is part of a potential breeding pair whose pups could help increase the genetic health of the wild population. And this wolf may never have killed livestock at all.
Science does not support the USFWS’s assumption that disrupting the pack by removing any uncollared wolf they can catch provides a solution for livestock depredations. Instead of targeting random wolves for removal, the government should use the full range of available, proven-effective prevention measures.
Please call government officials and Senators and tell them this scattershot approach to wolf management in unacceptable, especially for critically endangered animals. Share this message with everyone you know and ask them to do the same.
Here are three key points to make when you call:
1. The government should not be targeting critically endangered wolves, who may be very genetically valuable, for permanent removal.
Removing a wolf at random may break up a potential new breeding pair and will place him/her and all of the wolves nearby at risk, since capture carries a high risk of accidental death or injury. And it perpetuates a failed policy of scapegoating wolves who occasionally prey on livestock — even when the stock-owner is reimbursed.
2. The US Fish and Wildlife Service should release many more wolves, not remove them.
At last count, just 83 wolves including 5 breeding pairs survived in the wild. If the USFWS is truly concerned about the growth of the population and its genetic health, the answer is more releases of captive wolves, not more wild wolves lost to risky trapping operations and permanent captivity.
3. Moving Mexican gray wolves closer to extinction is not the solution to livestock conflicts.
There are many solutions to conflicts between livestock and wolves, but there are very few Mexican gray wolves. Livestock businesses on public lands are reimbursed for losses and can receive government and non-profit assistance for non-lethal proactive measures to avoid depredation. They have a responsibility to do so. Deterrents to livestock conflicts are the solution, not removing more endangered Mexican wolves.
Please call the US Fish and Wildlife Service today. If you live in New Mexico, calls to your Senators are a top priority as well. If you can call the USFWS and your Senators, that will help most.
USFWS Southwest Regional Office
Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator: 505-761-4748
External Affairs Office: 505-248-6911
Main Office: 505-248-6920
USFWS in Washington, DC Public number: 1-800-344-9453
New Mexico Senators
Senator Martin Heinrich DC: 202-224-5521 ABQ: 505-346-6601
Senator Tom Udall DC: 202-224-6621 ABQ: 505-346-6791
Senators outside of New Mexico (click here to find numbers)
Phone calls usually carry more weight than emails, but if you absolutely can’t call, here are email addresses (you can even send one email and copy everyone below on it):
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southwest Regional Director — Dr. Benjamin Tuggle: RDTuggle@fws.gov
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator – Sherry Barrett: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Tom Udall: http://www.tomudall.senate.gov/?p=contact
Senator Martin Heinrich: http://www.heinrich.senate.gov/contact
U.S. Secretary of the Interior – Sally Jewell http://www.doi.gov/public/contact-us.cfm
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Director — Dan Ashe: email@example.com
You can read the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s wolf removal order here.
Thank you for all you do to save these beautiful, intelligent animals from extinction! They would thank you too, if they could.
Top: Fox Mountain pups in 2012, courtesy of the Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team
Bottom: Captive Mexican gray wolf courtesy of Amber Legras