Local & Regional News

Bring wolves to Hart Prairie

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Letter to the Editor Posted July 16, 2017 by Gretchen Markiewicz

I am a retired teacher and community volunteer, with a great love for the outdoors. I read, with interest, your article dated June 30, which shared information about the newly released draft plan for wolf recovery in our area. Thank you for publishing it.

The Mexican Gray Wolf is native to this area but was hunted to near extinction by the mid 1900s. Wolves are predators that are needed in forested terrain, where elk and deer roam, to keep the ecosystem healthy. They not only cull the old and the sick in these ungulate populations, but create habitat for birds, fish, and many other animals by keeping deer and elk moving, so that they do not destroy vegetation and muddy streams.

The Grand Canyon region is prime habitat for these wolves, yet the proposed plan calls for restricting wolf territory to south of I-40 in Arizona and New Mexico. The report acknowledges that a minimum population of at least 320 wolves would have to survive over a period of several years in order to be recovered. This number is almost three times the number of wolves currently living in the wild. In order to be sustainable, wolves need more territory, not less, and more captive wolves need to be released into the wild to improve genetic diversity and increase their numbers.

I live in Hart Prairie and would be thrilled to hear the howl of wolves in my backyard. They will bring health to our forests and restore the balance.

GRETCHEN MARKIEWICZ

Flagstaff

New recovery plan has no wolves on North Rim

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted June 30, 2017 by Susan Montoya Bryan of the Associated Press. A similar article was published by the Santa Fe New Mexican, Mohave Daily News, and Tucson.com

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — After repeated failures over decades, U.S. wildlife officials have finally drafted a recovery plan for endangered wolves that once roamed parts of the American Southwest and northern Mexico.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is under a court order to complete the plan for the Mexican gray wolf by the end of November.

The draft document released Thursday calls for focusing recovery of the wolves in core areas of the predators' historic range. That means south of Interstate 40 in the two states and in Mexico, and not as far north as the North Rim, as some groups wanted. The document also addresses threats, such as genetic diversity.

"At the time of recovery, the service expects Mexican wolf populations to be stable or increasing in abundance, well-distributed geographically within their historical range, and genetically diverse," the agency said in a statement.

That didn't wash with many conservation groups.

“It is critical that some of the best habitat in Arizona for wolves – the Grand Canyon region – be part of this recovery effort,” said Emily Renn, Executive Director of Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project. “Capping the population and limiting the region for recovery so severely is not a recipe for a recovered Mexican wolf population.”

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Conservationists blast long-awaited recovery plan for Mexican wolves, which excludes Utah, Colorado from lobos’ range

The Salt Lake Tribune (Original) Posted June 29, 2017 by Brian Maffly

Recovery area » Thursday draft would shrink the safe zone for endangered animals envisioned five years ago.

As Utah officials had hoped, a draft federal plan for the recovery of the endangered Mexican gray wolf does not include Utah or Colorado in the area envisioned for the wolf's range.

Released Thursday after decades of delay, the proposal appears to deviate sharply from a draft five years ago, when U.S. Fish and Wildlife scientists considered including southern Utah. The small-bodied wolf species once roamed the American Southwest and northern Mexico.

The earlier draft pegged the target for recovery at 750 animals in the United States. The new draft lowers the target to 320 animals sustained over eight years — still triple the current U.S. population — with another 170 in Mexico.

The draft drew a quick rebuke from conservationists who say it's geared toward a political objective, rather than the biological one required by the Endangered Species Act.

"This reckless plan would turn over management of these unique and beautiful animals to wolf-hating state officials well-before they're fully recovered and secure," said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. "Independent biologists have concluded that the lobos' recovery in the Grand Canyon and southern Rocky Mountains regions is essential to the long-term recovery of the species."

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Press Release: New Lobo ‘Recovery’ Plan Puts Politics Before Science Risks Recovery of Highly Endangered Mexican Gray Wolves

For immediate release June 29, 2017

Media contacts:
Sandy Bahr
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
(602) 253-8633
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Emily Renn
Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project
(928) 202-1235
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Lobo ‘Recovery’ Plan Puts Politics Before Science Risks Recovery of Highly Endangered Mexican Gray Wolves

Tucson, Ariz. – Despite the recommendations of scientists, the draft recovery plan for the lobo or Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) released today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service unnaturally limits the population size and range of this subspecies in the Southwest. Exclusion of millions of acres of suitable habitat near Grand Canyon, north of the current recovery area, and an artificial cap on population size will limit real recovery of this species to a state-managed token animal instead of allowing it to fulfill its important role in maintaining ecosystem health.

“The proposed downlisting and delisting criteria specified in the plan show that the Fish and Wildlife Service is anxious to get the management of these animals to state agencies, including the Arizona Game and Fish Department, which is overseen by a decidedly anti-wolf commission that has demonstrated strong hostility to recovery of Mexican wolves,” said Greta Anderson, Arizona Director for Western Watershed Project. “It’s less about recovery than it is an abdication of its own duties to ensure viable populations of wolves in the Southwest and to secure the future of this species.”

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Anti-wolf bill would turn recovery backward

The Daily Courier (Original) Posted March 25, 2017 by Dennis DuVall, Special to the Courier

Will the Mexican wolf survive? Not likely if Sen. Jeff Flake and Arizona ranchers have their way (“Moving goal for Mexican gray wolf,” Courier, Feb. 25).

Flake’s anti-wolf bill is the culmination of state and congressional assaults to shred the Endangered Species Act (ESA), emasculate wolf science, manipulate the courts, and hand the Mexican wolf recovery plan over to the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD).

Flake’s Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan Act would delist the Mexican wolf from the ESA based on having reached a population of 100, an interim goal set in 1982 (an updated recovery plan was developed by the Mexican wolf recovery planning team in 2005 recommending 750 Mexican wolves as a viable, self-sustaining population goal for successful recovery). The ESA saved the Mexican gray wolf from extinction as an “experimental, non-essential” subspecies of the gray wolf, but wildlife advocates have clamored for the federal Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to change the classification to “essential, endangered.”

Wolf activists want to expand Lobo’s recovery habitat to north of the Grand Canyon, end the practice of capturing and relocating wolves, eliminate invisible boundaries to wolf movement, end lethal removals, and supplement the wild Mexican wolf population with 300 captive-bred wolves to increase the number of packs and breeding pairs.

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