Local & Regional News

US dropping gray wolf protections in 2020

13WTHR (Original) Posted on September 1, 2020 by John Flesher and Matthew Brown of the Associated Press

Wolves in recent decades rebounded in the western Great Lakes region and portions of the West. But wildlife protection groups say they remain vulnerable.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich — The Trump administration plans to lift endangered species protections for gray wolves across most of the nation by the end of the year, the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday.

“We’re working hard to have this done by the end of the year and I’d say it’s very imminent,” Aurelia Skipwith told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday.

The administration also is pushing ahead with a rollback of protections for migratory birds despite a recent setback in federal court, she said.

The Fish and Wildlife Service last year proposed dropping the wolf from the endangered list in the lower 48 states, exempting a small population of Mexican wolves in the Southwest. It was the latest of numerous attempts to return management authority to the states — moves that courts have repeatedly rejected after opponents filed lawsuits.

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Wolf deaths, introductions, spawn controversy

White Mountain Independent (Original) Posted on July 31, 2020 by Peter Aleshire

The long, expensive effort to return Mexican Gray Wolves to the wild continues its stutter step – forward and back, forward and back.

This year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service introduced 20 wolf pups born in captivity into the dens of wolves roaming wild in Arizona and New Mexico.

On the other hand, the federal government also killed a hard-luck, three-legged wolf for preying on cattle – one of 25 wolves killed by federal hunters since the program started in 1998. Biologists have recaptured another eight wolves and another 22 have died accidentally as a result of capture operations. The federal government this year killed a record five wolves that were deemed a danger to people or cattle.

However, ranchers say the wild wolves kill dozens of calves and cows every year. They say 2020 will likely set a record for livestock losses, with more than 100 deaths already – mostly calves and a few cows.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to solicit public comments on the management plan for some 163 wolves that roamed the White Mountains and western New Mexico in the last full census. Key questions include whether to release more captive-reared wolves into the wild.

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40K+ Weigh In On Mexican Gray Wolves

For Immediate Release
June 15, 2020

Contact:
Sandy Bahr, Grand Canyon Chapter Sierra Club, (602) 999-5790, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Rebecca Bullis, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0295, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kelly Burke, Wild Arizona, (928) 606-7870, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Logan Glasenapp, New Mexico Wild, (414) 719-0352, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
David Parsons, Project Coyote / The Rewilding Institute, (505) 908-0468, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mary Katherine Ray, Rio Grande Chapter Sierra Club, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Emily Renn, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, 928-202-1325, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Chris Smith, WildEarth Guardians, (505) 395-617, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

40K+ WEIGH IN ON MEXICAN GRAY WOLVES
60-day public comment period ends with outpouring of support for wolf recovery

TUCSON, Arizona (June 15, 2020) - On April 15, 2020, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) opened a 60-day “scoping” period to receive public comments on needed changes to a management rule that will determine the recovery success of Mexican gray wolves in the southwestern United States. This revision follows on a court order to remedy the rule’s deficiencies and use the best available science. Despite the challenges to public outreach in the midst of the global pandemic and stay-at-home orders, supporters of effective science-informed recovery of the critically endangered “lobos” submitted more than 40,000 comments.

By initial review, the large majority of the comments submitted appear to be in support of the (FWS) taking all crucial and necessary measures to restore the endangered subspecies’ declining genetic health, allowing unrestricted dispersal to critically important habitats, and removing the current population cap limiting the U.S. population to only 325 wolves. Proponents are also calling for an “essential” status designation for Mexican gray wolves.

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Wildlife Managers Use Pup Fostering To Boost Wolf Genetics

KNAU Arizona Public Radio (Original) Posted May 29, 2020 by the Associated Press

A record number of captive-born wolf pups has been placed into the wild as part of an effort by federal and state wildlife managers to boost the genetic diversity among Mexican gray wolves in the Southwestern U.S.

The interagency team announced the results of this season's cross-fostering program Thursday. They say the work of integrating the 20 pups into wild wolf packs took place in April and May. A dozen pups were fostered into four packs in eastern Arizona. Eight were spread among three packs in New Mexico. The most recent survey shows there are more than 160 wolves in the wild in the two states.

Advocates question investigations used to target 'problem' wolves

Arizona Daily Star (Original) Posted on May 26, 2020 by Henry Brean

The remains of the dead cow were found early last year in the bottom of a canyon on National Forest land near Reserve, New Mexico.

All that was left was a wadded scrap of dried hide that investigators photographed then collected from the rocky ground at the base of a pinyon pine tree.

They had to soak the skin for weeks before it was soft enough for them to find tooth marks on it.

The size of the bite and the location of the hide was all the confirmation they needed. As far as the federal government was concerned, this 4-year-old cow was killed by a Mexican gray wolf.

Advocates for the endangered predator aren’t convinced.

An ongoing analysis by the environmental group Western Watersheds Project is raising questions about these livestock depredation investigations, which are being used to compensate ranchers and target "problem" wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.

The group documented significant oddities, errors or conflicting details in more than two-thirds of the 117 investigations it reviewed from 2019.

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