HOWL Colorado

Editorial: Scientifically designed plan needed to recover Arizona’s wolves

[large thumbnail url=”editorial-scientifically-designed-plan-needed-to-recover-arizonas-wolves” filename=”editorial” year=”2009″ month=”12″ day=”13″] Eva Sargent, of the Defenders of Wildlife, wrote an editorial piece for the Arizona start about the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction.

The Mexican wolf recovery effort has reached a pivotal crossroads. At last count, there were just 52 wild Mexican wolves remaining in all of Arizona and New Mexico. This sobering fact is a reminder of just how much of the wild West we’ve lost.

Since 1998, nearly 100 Mexican wolves have been released into the wild. They’ve formed packs, had pups and successfully hunted native prey, including elk and deer. So why is the Mexican wolf still one of the most endangered mammals in North America? Part of the problem is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is relying on a recovery plan developed 28 years ago, which has never been updated to reflect modern science and lacks simple recovery criteria such as sustainable population goals.

Even more disturbing, most losses of Mexican wolves from the population have been “removals” from the wild by wildlife authorities. They have been playing little more than referee, settling conflicts between livestock producers and wolves by either capturing or killing wolves that prey on cattle or sheep. Without clear recovery goals to guide their actions, these conflicts have nearly always been decided against the Mexican wolf… [read the full editorial]

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