Game commissions unqualified on wolves

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted October 4, 2015 by Roxane George

To the editor:

As a long-time resident of Arizona, I have been appalled by the actions of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to undermine recovery of Mexican gray wolves, our highly endangered native lobos. Unfortunately, the New Mexico Game Commission, once a helpful partner in the Mexican wolf reintroduction, has become as great an obstructer of wolf recovery as the Arizona Commission, as detailed in the Arizona Daily Sun article, "New Mexico wildlife panel denies federal wolf permit appeal."

Both agencies have refused to allow adult wolves from the captive population to be released into the wild, in spite of warnings from scientists like geneticist Rich Fredrickson, who have said the wolves are in danger from inbreeding and need new releases to avoid further genetic decline. The actions of both state wildlife commissions are in direct opposition to their own agencies' missions and to the values of the vast majority of voters in both states, who support both Mexican gray wolves and the Endangered Species Act.

These commissions make it all too clear that we have a broken system in both states, which assigns authority over wildlife to those who serve a narrow political agenda, rather than those who are best qualified and willing to follow and implement the best available science for the good of all the state's wildlife, especially endangered species. We need commissioners who understand that healthy wildlife and lands require saving all the pieces, especially top carnivores like wolves, who are essential to restoring balance. Sadly, we will not get them until the process by which they are appointed changes drastically in both states.