Game and Fish abandoning gray wolves

AZ Daily Sun (original) Posted: Sunday, December 12, 2010 5:00 am

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission (the folks in charge of restoring the Mexican gray wolf to its historic habitat here in Arizona) came up with a unique recovery plan during a Commission meeting last Saturday. They voted to support removal of the wolf from the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

That's right, they want to save wolves by making it legal to kill them. This includes the 42 remaining Mexican wolves on Planet Earth -- a population struggling for survival down in the White Mountains.

What AZGF wants to do is remove federal protections, then enact their own plan to save Mexican wolves here in Arizona. Can they be trusted to do the job? Hardly. On at least three occasions since 2008, AZGF has recommended permanent removal of specific wolves by "live capture," by "the most efficient means necessary" or by "lethal control." In all cases these recommendations were properly overruled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

During the Commission meeting, I watched, baffled and horrified, as the director of the Wolf Reintroduction Project for Arizona recommended that the commission remove political "gridlock" by supporting congressional efforts to remove the wolf from ESA protection nationwide. The commission then voted 4-1 in his favor.

AZGF has abandoned their mission to protect the wolves. The fact is that without legal protection, the Mexican wolf will go extinct.

Contact AZGF and let them know that their position is intolerable. The continued existence of the lobo may depend on it.

Steve Robinson is a former law enforcement officer and criminal investigator. He is has followed wolf reintroduction efforts in Arizona closely and is a volunteer with the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project in Flagstaff.