Mexican gray wolves are facing one of the most preventable extinctions in U.S. history.
The Mexican gray wolf, or lobo, has been hanging by a thread for decades. Roughly 109 animals roam the wild of Arizona and New Mexico in a tiny fraction of what was once their home.
But after more than two decades of foot-dragging and bureaucratic red tape, the lobo is still in serious danger. And now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is ready to abandon the development of a science-based recovery plan and let the states of New Mexico and Arizona – both brimming with anti-wolf politicians – call the shots going forward!
When Mexican gray wolves were first protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1976, FWS was required to create a recovery plan for the species – a document that would map out how to protect these wolves from the threats they faced and how to successfully recover them.
Yet in the almost 40 years that Mexican gray wolves have been listed, FWS has never created a legally compliant recovery plan for them – and the species is slowly slipping away.
That’s why back in November, Defenders of Wildlife went to court to demand that FWS step up and create a compliant recovery plan before it was too late. Instead, FWS is striking back-room deals with the states and allowing politics to dictate the terms of Mexican gray wolf recovery – a potentially fatal decision.
A state-written recovery plan would ignore hard science and doom the lobos to extinction.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has been bullying FWS for years - limiting wolf releases and even calling for the Mexican gray wolf to lose all federal protection. If FWS allows the states to take over, the future of these wolves would be placed in the hands of extreme anti-wolf politicians, in states that had a hand in the near extinction of Mexican gray wolves in the first place!
This is a dangerous case of politics over science and back-room deals. FWS appears to be walking away from their obligation to this critically endangered species and instead handing over the fate of Mexican gray wolves to overtly anti-wolf state politicians.
Jamie Rappaport Clark
President, Defenders of Wildlife
Defenders of Wildlife |