Commission follows politics, not science

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Letter to the Editor Posted August 19, 2015 by Toni Prothero

To the editor:

Thank you for the recent article by Dave Parsons regarding the recovery of the Mexican wolf in Arizona. Mr. Parsons is a scientist with direct experience of the efforts to recover this species and well-qualified to critique the decisions of policymakers like Arizona Game and Fish Commission and Representative Gosar.

I attended the recent meeting of the Commission in Flagstaff and was appalled at their decision to oppose any more releases of adult wolves from captive breeding facilities and to rely solely on cross-fostering of captive-born pups. This is a very difficult technique to accomplish and, in fact, failed this year.

I have no doubt that many excellent people work for Arizona Game and Fish and work hard for the Mexican wolf's recovery, but the Commission is another matter. They are political appointees and their decisions are based on politics and not on peer-reviewed science, which is quite clear as to what is needed to save the species: access to suitable habitat north of I-40, an end to killings and removals, at least two more populations with the ability to intermingle among the populations, and expedited releases of adults from captivity for the genetic rescue of the species.

None of these points is evident in the Commission's plans -- quite the opposite, in fact. The current population of Mexican wolves is very small and vulnerable. We cannot afford to let them slip away into extinction as almost occurred before. The Commission would better serve the people of Arizona by following the science.