Nationwide Gray Wolf Delisting: What You Can Do
On June 7, 2013, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) officially announced its plan to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in the contiguous United States.
Although USFWS director Daniel M. Ashe declared victory for gray wolf recovery by stating “Wolves are recovered and they are now in good hands,” the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) shares serious concerns with the 16 scientists with expertise in carnivore taxonomy and conservation biology who believe the delisting rule is terribly premature. By stripping federal protections from wolves nationwide, wolves on the West Coast and in historically occupied areas of the southern Rockies and Northeast, may never be able to establish a viable populations despite suitable habitat and availability of prey. The ESA let our country give wolves a second chance. With second chances so hard to come by, should we be willing to throw them away?
The USFWS’s delisting proposal is open for public comment for 90 days, ending September 11.
We encourage you to begin taking action immediately via the Federal Register – here
Future of Mexican Gray Wolves On Shaky Ground
As a participant in the Mexican gray wolf Species Survival and Recovery plan and home to 14 Mexican wolves, the WCC’s efforts to conserve this wolf is priority. Under USFWS’s proposed rule, federal ESA protections would remain for the small population of Mexican gray wolves (Canis lupus baileyi) in the desert Southwest, the only gray wolf that would avoid delisting. This is GOOD news. The proposal, however, also includes changes to the rules governing Mexican wolf reintroduction. The one and only rule that is a welcome step in the right direction is to finally allow direct releases onto a larger area in the southwest. At present, when USFWS integrates Mexican gray wolves into the wild directly from captivity, the animals are only released into Arizona even though other parts of Mexican wolf range, like New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, is home to a greater amount of available habitat. That being said, it troubles the WCC that USFWS will continue to designate Mexican wolves as “experimental, non-essential” and prevent them from ever dispersing to last best places for wolves in Grand Canyon region, including northern Arizona and southern Utah, or to northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
Please do what you can to assist in Mexican wolf recovery and take this opportunity to submit your comment to USFWS re: the new proposed rule for Mexican gray wolf management. This proposal is extremely important to the future of Mexican wolves, and in order for this endangered species to recover in the wild, USFWS needs to give these wolves a real chance for recovery by allowing for more direct releases of breeding pairs into additional areas of the southwest and to recognize these wolves ARE essential. We owe these wolves a chance.
USFWS is accepting public comments until September 11, 2013. We encourage you to begin taking action immediately via the Federal Register – here