You Can Help Ensure the Survival of the Mexican Gray Wolf ~
Public Comment Period Open Through June 15, 2020
To those of you who joined the May 11 webinar hosted by The Rewilding Institute and Project Coyote, thank you for taking the time to attend. To those of you who missed any or all of the presentation, you can view a replay and see a list of questions and answers here.
As we shared with you during the webinar, the Mexican gray wolf is the most endangered gray wolf in North America ~ only seven Mexican gray wolves survived the relentless efforts by the U.S. and Mexican governments to exterminate them completely. Read more here.
The population is now estimated at approximately 163 wolves in the wild in in both Arizona and New Mexico ~ and you can help ensure that this iconic gray wolf subspecies doesn’t disappear completely.
In response to a 2015 lawsuit filed by several conservation groups, the Court ordered the USFWS to revise U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s first revision of the Section 10(j) management rule and to address the multiple deficiencies identified in the final Court Order by May of 2021.
The Court Order was a huge victory for Lobo advocates and provides what may be the last opportunity for the conservation community to convince the USFWS to make the necessary changes to the rule to ensure the long-term future of our native gray wolf—the Lobo of the Southwest.
The USFWS has initiated the process of rule revision, and on April 15 opened a 60-day formal public “scoping” comment period.
Comments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. ET on June 15, 2020.
This public comment period is also your opportunity to advise the USFWS
on this important issue.
As we noted in the webinar, Project Coyote and The Rewilding Institute collaborated on addressing multiple complex issues in the comments we will submit to the USFWS. Please consider adding your voice to the efforts to ensure Mexican gray wolf recovery!
How to Submit Your Comments:
- Comments can be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2020-0007, which is the docket number for this Notice of Intent.
- Hard copy comments can be submitted by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to:
Public Comments Processing
S. Fish and Wildlife Service
MS: PRB/PERMA (JAO/1N)
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.
- Mexican wolves need greater protection to improve their genetic health and increase the likelihood of their recovery.
- More wolves from the genetically more diverse captive population need to be released into the wild. The genetic health of the wild population is steadily declining by every measure. The inbreeding coefficient is increasing, and genetic diversity is decreasing. If this trend continues, it will likely lead to the extinction of the Mexican wolf. In addition to cross-fostering captive pups into wild dens, the USFWS needs to release more well-bonded captive adult pairs with pups, which can yield more immediate genetic health improvements.
- The wild population’s classification under the Endangered Species Act must be changed from a “nonessential” experimental population to an “essential” population.
Twenty-two years following the initial release of 11 wolves, the expanded population of 163 animals is undeniably essential to the Mexican wolf’s recovery and long-term survival in the wild. The change to essential status is supported by the best available science and the legal requirements of the Endangered Species Act. It offers much-needed greater protection for the wild population.
- The revised rule needs to provide for more wolves in more places to ensure their recovery.Independent scientists have determined that at least three populations totaling at least 750 wolves must be established in the U.S. Southwest to ensure their long-term survival and recovery. The current cap of 325 wolves in the U.S. population must be removed.
- The Court has ruled that the revised rule must further the recovery of Mexican wolves in the U.S. Southwest. The current rule prohibits wild Mexican wolves from dispersing north of Interstate 40 in Arizona and New Mexico. This politically motivated restriction is the result of opposition to meaningful wolf recovery by the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. Independent scientists have identified two significant regions with suitable wolf habitat north of Interstate 40, both of which are critically important to the recovery of Mexican wolves in the U.S. Southwest: the Grand Canyon ecoregion in northern Arizona and southern Utah, and the Southern Rocky Mountain ecoregion in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
- The revised rule should remove all barriers to the movement of Mexican wolves and all limits to the size of their populations. The wolves know better than government agencies the best places to live and can limit their numbers to fit the capacity of the ecosystem supporting them. When allowed to establish their natural population densities, wolves tend to improve the health and biodiversity of their ecosystems. In other words, they are essential to maintaining the balance of nature.
- The revised rule must include provisions to reduce wolf removals and promote non-lethal methods for addressing conflicts.The current rule allows too many opportunities for livestock owners and agency managers to kill or remove wolves to address perceived conflicts between wolves and human activities on public lands. The new rule should require the use of non-lethal methods to resolve human-wolf conflicts. Permanent removal of a wolf should only follow the documented implementation of all feasible non-lethal methods.
- Trapping should be prohibited on all public lands within the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area. Since Mexican wolves were first released to their native habitats, 50 wolves have been caught in private traps, resulting in multiple deaths, limb amputations, and other injuries. Most wild Mexican wolves occupy public lands. These are only the known incidents of wolves being trapped, but there are undoubtedly many more unknown trapping incidents and undocumented wolf deaths.
Thank you for speaking up for Mexican wolves! Please share this alert with friends and colleagues (see share buttons below).
Camilla H. Fox
Founder & Executive Director, Project Coyote
Executive Director, The Rewilding Institute