TRI Comments on Proposed Revision to the Nonessential Experimental Population of the Mexican Wolf
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to add the Mexican Gray Wolf subspecies (Canis lupus baileyi) to the list of endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. At the same time FWS is proposing to classify the only wild population of about 75 Mexican wolves as a “nonessential experimental population.” This population was established in the Gila and Apache National Forests beginning in 1998. The proposed rule revision is fatally flawed in several important ways. It is guided by a 31-yr-old Recovery Plan (1982) that self-admits to not being a plan for full recovery; it is not based on the “best scientific and commercial data available” as is required by the ESA; it does not support full recovery of the Mexican gray wolf; and it proposes to continue the “nonessential” experimental population classification for the BRWRA population. See The Rewilding Institute’s official comments for a detailed analysis of the proposed rule. The USFWS has recently extended the public comment period to December 17.
The comments have been prepared by The Rewilding Institute’s Carnivore Conservation Biologist, David R. Parsons. Mr. Parsons served as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) first Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator from 1990-1999 and was the primary author of the original rule that established a Nonessential Experimental Population of the Mexican Gray Wolf in Arizona and New Mexico, which will be replaced by this proposed rule revision. Mr. Parsons has continued to follow the progress of the Mexican wolf recovery program from his retirement from FWS in 1999 to the present day. Mr. Parsons holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Wildlife Biology, served as a career wildlife biologist for FWS for 24 years, and has lectured nationally and internationally on wolf biology, ecology, and conservation.
David Parsons received his Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University and his Master of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology from Oregon State University. Dave is retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where from 1990-1999 he led the USFWS’s effort to reintroduce the endangered Mexican gray wolf to the American Southwest.
Dave’s interests include the ecology and conservation of large carnivores, protection and conservation of biodiversity, and wildlands conservation at scales that fully support ecological and evolutionary processes. He is the Carnivore Conservation Biologist for The Rewilding Institute, a member of the Science Advisory Board of Project Coyote, a former member and chairman of the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, and a former graduate advisor in the Environmental Studies master’s degree program at Prescott College. Dave serves as a science and policy advisor for organizations and coalitions advocating for wolf recovery and landscape-scale conservation in the Southwest.
In 2001, Dave received the New Mexico Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s annual “Professional Award.” In 2007 at the North American Wolf Conference, Dave received the “Alpha Award” for his “outstanding professional achievement and leadership toward the recovery of Mexican wolves.” In 2008 he received the “Outstanding Conservation Leadership Award” from the Wilburforce Foundation and the “Mike Seidman Memorial Award” from the Sky Island Alliance for his conservation achievements.
Dave enjoys wildlife viewing, wilderness adventures, and dancing. He lives in Albuquerque, NM, with his wife, Noralyn.