FOREST SERVICE TO CANCEL GRAZING PERMIT OF CONVICTED WOLF KILLER
Conservation Community Supports Penalty for Violating Federal Law
ALBUQUERQUE, NM– Last week, the Gila National Forest served rancher Craig Thiessen notice of a decision to cancel the grazing permit for the Canyon del Buey allotment near Reserve, New Mexico. Thiessen had pleaded guilty to intentionally trapping and bludgeoning a Mexican wolf with a shovel on public lands in 2015. Forest Service grazing regulations authorize the agency to revoke the permit of any permittee who is convicted of failing to comply with federal laws relating to the protection of wildlife, including, in this case, the Endangered Species Act.
“The victim here was a 10-month old wolf pup, named ‘Mia Tuk’ by Jaryn Allen of Albuquerque, from the Willow Springs pack, a family that no longer exists in part because of Mr. Thiessen’s actions,” said Greta Anderson, Deputy Director of Western Watersheds Project. “We’re glad that the Forest Service is showing that it takes wolf recovery seriously and won’t let ranchers get away with illegally killing these important predators.”
“I’m happy to hear this news that the US Forest Service took action. I’m still sad that Mia Tuk was killed in such a brutal manner, but it now seems as though his death is bringing about change that could better protect wolves. Many years ago, wolves thrived on this land then people came in and took the land from them. I hope wolves will be able to thrive on this land once again,” said Jaryn Allen, 12, Albuquerque.
“There is no justice for Mia Tuk but there is some measure of justice for our public lands when those who act so brutally face consequences,” said Christopher Smith, Southern Rockies Wildlife Advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Public lands ranching is a privilege. Thiessen abused that privilege violently and so we’re grateful the Forest Service took action to revoke his permit.”
“The Forest Service got it right and upheld the rule of law,” says Madeleine Carey, Greater Gila Guardian for WildEarth Guardians. “Far too often, these heavily subsidized ranchers, like the Bundys or Hammonds, are enabled rather than held accountable. We applaud the Forest Service for exercising its authority to protect the public interest on our public lands.”
“Thirty-three organizations and twenty individuals joined a letter last June calling for the Forest Service to take this very action, and hundreds of wolf supporters expressed outrage to the agency through phone calls and letters,” said Sandy Bahr, chapter director for Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter. “The Forest Service’s decision to take this action is a powerful affirmation that wolves belong on public lands and violent permittees do not.”
A copy of Mr. Thiessen’s guilty plea is online here. A copy of the conservation community’s June 2018 letter urging the agency to take this action is also online. A copy of the Forest Service email to Congressional representatives is pasted here.