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Arizona Game and Fish Endorses Plan to Ramp Up Killing of Endangered Wolves

Center for Biological Diversity • Endangered Wolf Center • Grand Canyon Wildlands Council • Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter • Sierra Club – Rio Grande Chapter • White Mountain Conservation League • Wolf Conservation Center

Arizona Game and Fish Endorses Plan to Ramp Up Killing of Endangered Wolves

April 25, 2014 - PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Commission unanimously endorsed a plan this week that will make it vastly easier to kill endangered Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico and arbitrarily caps the number of wolves in both states at 300, and allowing for a number as low as 125. Significantly, the commission also recommends that management of wolves be taken away from the federal government, where it has been since passage of the federal Endangered Species Act, and given to the state, which has long been hostile to wolves.

The proposal, called the “cooperating agencies alternative,” is a collection of previously discarded policies that failed to promote wolf recovery.

“If this alternative is enacted, it will likely mean a second extinction in the wild for Mexican wolves,” said Sandy Bahr, chapter director for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “The document limits the number of animals arbitrarily, restricts the recovery area, eliminates opportunities for connected multiple populations, and promotes more frequent removal or killing of wolves. This is not a proposal to recover a highly endangered species. It is a proposal to exterminate them.”

“This chilling proposal would bring the Mexican wolf even closer to the brink of extinction while advancing the states-rights goal of wresting control of endangered wildlife and bringing both the feds and wild animals to heel,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Arizona Game and Fish has long advocated the killing of Mexican wolves, and now seeks to increase and institutionalize the slaughter, and make the policy of killing wolves immune to any last-ditch efforts to save them in the event of a declining population.”

The proposal, now sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is intended to guide management of this endangered wolf population, which now stands at about 83 in the two states.

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission called a last-minute telephonic meeting to endorse this alternative, despite having earlier indicated publicly that this issue would not be addressed until its June meeting. In developing the proposal, Arizona Game and Fish included nearly all of the groups that have historically objected to wolf recovery – livestock interests, trappers, and some counties and hunting groups – but no groups that have supported wolf recovery. The document was not made available for review until right before Tuesday’s telephone meeting and members of the public who wished to comment were required to be present at the Game and Fish office in north Phoenix, rather than being able to participate from satellite offices throughout the state as is often the case.

“Why is Arizona Game and Fish leaving out large segments of the public and rushing through policies to hinder the recovery of a highly endangered species?” said Bahr. “The agency and commission should be embarrassed by both its conduct and the fact that it has endorsed an alternative that is contrary to federal law, contrary to the best science, and clearly intended to limit wolf recovery.”

The proposed “extinction” alternative is indefensible in many ways.

  1. The document includes uncited research from the northern Rockies that states Arizona and New Mexico can only accommodate 200-300 wolves (page 4). This is contrary to the best available science from members of the recovery team.
  2. It proposes to cap the population of wolves at 300 across both Arizona and New Mexico (page 8), but states that 125 animals will be its fallback number and that it will be willing to try to manage for 200 to 300 wolves only if every wolf beyond the 300 threshold is trapped or killed expeditiously. These numbers are far lower than the 750 minimum threshold scientists on the recovery team have proposed based on the best available science.
  3. The alternative includes a broad provision to allow the states to remove or kill wolves to maintain this arbitrary cap, or because they impact game species, or any other reason, including “to avoid conflict with human activities.” (page 25).
  4. It allows landowners and livestock permittees to kill wolves for a long list of reasons, including if a wolf “harassed” a pet (page 22).
  5. It revives SOP 13.0, a discarded policy that led to the deaths and removals of entire packs of wolves, regardless of the wolves’ genetic value or necessity to dependent pups, until the wild population declined to only 42 wolves in 2009  (page 9).
  6. It seeks to limit federal actions to recover Mexican wolves to law enforcement only in areas “claimed” by state authority. The federal government can check on the states’ progress every three years (page 16).

The game department alternative would also grant the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Wildlife Services” agency, which kills predators for ranchers, sweeping authority to decide which wolves to kill. The alternative even purports to constrain future U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision-making on what standards to use in removing the Mexican wolf from the endangered species list.

“This alternative would relegate the Fish and Wildlife Service, which by law must recover endangered species, to two roles: reporting once every three years on the status of the wolf population, and disposing of the carcasses of wolves on an ongoing basis,” said Robinson.

The Sierra Club is one of the oldest grassroots environmental organizations in the country with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide.  The Sierra Club’s mission is “to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; and to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environments.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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24 Responses to Arizona Game and Fish Endorses Plan to Ramp Up Killing of Endangered Wolves

  1. Jeramy Butzen says:

    Help
    Our
    Wolves
    Live
    !!!!!

    • Deborah says:

      The wolves are beautiful animals and essential to our ecosystem. Read up and you will learn about how important they are. Humans are using their power to kill a species for their own needs. What does that sound like? Use your imagination. I urge everyone reading this to be an advocate for the wolves and spread the word. If not for the wolves beauty for the humans need to survive we depend on them in our ecosystem more than people realize. Without them we may eventually falter.

  2. Stop killing these endangered wolves!

  3. rachel frazier says:

    why do people keep trying to find a way to kill off the wolves or keep the number wolves down to were they dont even have a chance to repopulate? (yes may be miss spelled) let the wolves live let them be free. they were on this earth before us before big citys were built. to kill a wolf is like destroying a building in a city. buildings make citys wolves keep eco systam going. this bs needs to stop.

  4. Andrea says:

    PROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVEPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWS NOWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWWPROTECT THE WOLVES NOWWWWW

    STOP KILLING WOLVES! STUPID PEOPLE

  5. Please..I pray that this insane and, needless killing of wolves will stop immediately. Wolves are one of God’s most magnificent creatures. They are so very important in the balance of Nature. PLEASE STOP MURDERING THEM….

  6. lukkas lu says:

    Debemos a toda costa preservar la vida animal, todos estamos conectados como seres vivos, es sabido que cuando una especie se extingue se desestabiliza todo nuestro entorno, por favor un rotundo NO a la matanza y extinción de esta bella y mal entendida especie.

  7. eric dirks says:

    this is another example of the DOW in another state getting to big for their britches. and if we the people dont stand up to them this will be the beginning of the decimation of other important wildlife species. The wolf is a vital top predator and must be protected from these stupid government officials. im sure there is some type of monetary gain these parasites will be getting from all of this. put them out of office and onto the street.iut may not be true any where in this world but it is true here , We the people have the power to change what we think needs changing. All it takes is for us to stand up and do something about it,.

  8. Christina Pantoja says:

    Please stop the killing. These creatures deserv to liive too

  9. Jo Lang says:

    Please don’t allow this bill to go into effect. We are called to be stewards if this earth, not executioners. Thanks

  10. Jackie Brown says:

    How can this happen……how can the Fish and Game Dept care more about money and hunters than the very survival of the species…..who the hell do we write to??? This has to be fought…….no law, no Gov’t body should have the right to put a species in line for extinction………

  11. Joni Lee says:

    This is so wrong in so many ways, man will suffer the consequences of his actions eventually

  12. Try transferring the wolfs to a more isolated area with thier
    Pack. Be sure take the cubs with them other wise thet return.
    Stop your hunting time back. Share thier food make it easier
    For them to hunt thier prey and not you or cattle or any other person farm or
    Ranch animals.
    Thank you
    Penny Moneyhun
    Des Moines, iowa
    515-201-0093.

  13. Jacqueline Greene says:

    This is basically a license to kill aimed at killing enough wolves each year until they will soon be extinct. It’s disgusting. Surely there must be a way to keep this in the federal government’s purview. Will you be creating a petition regarding this, or is it too late?

  14. James Bordato says:

    It is difficult, somewhat, to try to comment on control of wildlife survival versus “control” in a far away state.

    However, the “types” of actions sound like “insider trading”: people acting together to pull something off that they know to be of questionable value, if word gets out. There must be some sustainable middle ground. I don’t think killing leaders and interfering with natural selection is “humane”. However, I am not in favor of wolves eating pets and small children either.

    To quote that great philosopher,Rodney King: “Can’t we all just get along?” It does seem that arbitrarily killing random animals, below the sustain level may “solve” game loses, and pet losses, but the wolves deserve to survive, I think.

    The process and actions being taken are questionable, no matter what activity they are being applied to.

  15. Susie Dowd says:

    Don’t kill the wolfs humans are over populated are you going to kills them to.

  16. Rene'e Cond!e says:

    STOP KILLING WOLVES AND ALL ANIMALS

  17. Mel says:

    Wolves and all animals deserve the right to live. The earth was not made for humans alone.

  18. Meredith says:

    Stop the killing,you are not god!

  19. James Winstanley says:

    There is no logic hunting a species to extinction if it can be prevented. These animals are top predators. They could be re-introduced into areas where they previously were, tracked via radio signal, given a health exam prior to relocation, and perhaps treated for any health problems. The cattle companies remove a problem, and the wolves live. Win/win scenario.

  20. SHEILA PARKER says:

    just leave the wolves alone they are here for a reason are GOD wouldn’t have created them

  21. Caroline Brannen says:

    Wolves are an essential part of our ecosystem. It is imperative that they be protected. Please stop the killing NOW.

  22. Tere Silentwater says:

    Please save these beautiful animals. They have every right to be on earth!! Please save them all!!!! Thank you!!!

  23. Jeanette Araujo says:

    Stop this now! You don’t need to kill anything! If you feel like playing with guns…then set-up or create a gun range where you can shoot at objects…NOT ANIMALS…

    Better yet…why don’t you just hunt each other?!! Now THAT I will support!!!

    Leave ANIMALS alone!!!

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