Letter to the Editor: The perfect time to increase Mexican gray wolves area

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted March 26, 2020 by David Spence, M.D.

The Daily Sun article on 3/18/20 had some "howling" good news: the January 2020 count of Mexican Gray Wolves living in the wild is 24% higher than the previous year. The count of 164 is encouraging, but it is far short of scientists’ recommended recovery goal of more than 200 wolves in three or more separate, but connected areas. This long-running recovery effort is the product of an inter-agency field team that deserves our thanks and praise.

Commenting on this good news, Emily Renn with the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project said, "The growing population of Mexican gray wolves in the wild needs access to additional suitable habitat where packs can spread out and provide ecological benefits as a keystone species. With court-ordered revisions for the wolves' management plan on the horizon, now is the perfect opportunity to increase the area where wolves can be released and establish territories north of Interstate 40 and in the Grand Canyon region."

Increasing the territory for these iconic wild animals will have two additional benefits: (1) Wolves will have more access to abundant native prey and less conflict with livestock in national parks. (2) The genetic diversity, that is essential for the wolves to thrive, will be easier to achieve with packs north of the I-40. Letters to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service requesting this territorial expansion will help make it happen. They will be accepting comments soon during a scoping period on the Mexican wolf management plan.