Action Alert! Act Now to Ensure Mexican Wolf Recovery!
Comment deadline now extended until DECEMBER 17, 2013.
Comment on proposed Rule changes regarding reintroduction into the wild of the Mexican Gray Wolf
Recently the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed changes to the rules governing the Mexican wolf reintroduction. The proposal, with one very good and many very bad changes, is very important to the future of Mexican wolves.
Please comment on the proposed changes and include the following key points:
1. The good change is to allow direct releases of Mexican wolves throughout the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. The USFWS should put the rest of their proposed rule on hold and speed up approval for more direct releases in expanded areas.
This change has been recommended by experts for over 10 years and can be made faster and with less bureaucratic delay than any other part of the proposed rule.
2. The proposed rule effectively prevents wolves returning to the Grand Canyon region, including northern Arizona and southern Utah, or to northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. The USFWS should eliminate boundaries to the wolves' movement.
Scientists say some of the last best places for wolves are in these areas, but currently wolves who set up territories outside the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area are recaptured and moved back. Under the proposed change, the USFWS will recapture Mexican wolves just for going outside of the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area whether they establish territories or not. Additional populations of Mexican wolves are necessary to their recovery and genetic health, as is the ability for wolves to move between populations.
Capturing and moving wolves is always a risky business that can result in death or trauma to the wolf. And a bigger box is still a box.
3. The USFWS should not re-designate Mexican gray wolves as experimental, non-essential. By labeling all of the wild wolves as "nonessential" the USFWS ignores science and the reality of 15 years of experience with reintroducing wolves.
The USFWS claims that even if all of the 75 wolves in the wild are wiped out this is not "likely to appreciably reduce the likelihood" of recovery of Mexican wolves in the wild. When the current rule declared wolves in the wild "nonessential" there were only 11 wolves, recently released from a captive breeding program, and they made up only 7% of all Mexican wolves in the world.
Now the 75 wolves in the wild have up to four generations of experience in establishing packs and raising pups and are over 22% of all of the Mexican wolves in the world. And after four generations of captive breeding with few releases, scientists warn that there may be serious genetic problems making captive wolves less able to thrive in the wild.
The fourth generation wild lobos are not expendable and are essential to recovering this unique subspecies of wolf.
4. The USFWS needs to quit stalling and complete a comprehensive recovery plan – and let the public see it – at the same time as or before changing the current rule (except for allowing wolves to be reintroduced into additional suitable places).
USFWS admits that their present, typewritten, 1982 recovery plan is not scientifically sound and does not meet current legal requirements – yet in its proposed rule USFWS continues to emphasize a woefully inadequate population of only 100 wolves in the wild.
When USFWS published the current rule in 1998 they said they expected to put out a new recovery plan for the public to comment on later that year; 15 years later, there still is no scientific or legally adequate recovery plan!
The proposed rule puts the cart before the horse and should come with or after – not before – an updated recovery plan
USFWS's decisions on the proposed rule can help Mexican wolves finally thrive or can push them closer to extinction. Please comment today, and ask others to do the same.
You can submit your comments online here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056
Or by mail addressed to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203
Thank you for giving these special wolves a voice in their future.
The Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project is excited to host our second wolf advocacy campaign relay hike from July to October 2013 that will follow a natural dispersal corridor, connecting the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (where Mexican gray wolves currently live) to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (where we are advocating for their return). Mexican wolves are capable of traversing hundreds of miles, and need room to roam in order to establish a metapopulation structure to preserve remaining genetic diversity.
Two wolves have been documented in the Flagstaff area since the initial release of Mexican wolves into Arizona in 1998. In 2000, a female Mexican wolf wandered northward, eventually traveling over 200 miles until a vehicle struck and killed her just twelve miles north of Flagstaff on US Highway 89. In 2001, federal and state wildlife agencies reported that a radio-collared, yearling male lobo traveled from his reintroduction site in the Apache National Forest to the Mormon Lake vicinity on the Coconino National Forest south of Flagstaff. The agency biologists later tracked him moving south to Clear Creek and then eastward along the Mogollon Rim headwaters. It is possible he was following the scent of the female wolf who traveled this route before him, seeking out a mate he would never find. Our sojourner was shot and illegally killed in early 2002. As a community awareness event, the Paseo del Lobo hike offers participants a unique opportunity to learn more about little-known stories like this, as well as current efforts to help critically-endangered wolves make their way back to the wild.
Volunteers will be expected to serve as a positive spokesperson for Mexican wolf recovery, sharing your photographs and video experiences of the trail!
We will provide participants with a detailed map of their section, overview maps of the area, GPS unit with the trail track loaded, a first aid kit, satellite phone (for emergency uses), a digital camera, and hand-held video camera. We will meet hikers or bikers at the trail head each morning at 9 am (unless another start time is pre-arranged and confirmed) and volunteers will meet you at the end of the trail section each afternoon for a shuttle back to your personal vehicle at the trail head.
Help us make the Paseo del Lobo a success for Mexican wolves
Our sponsorship form will be available online shortly, but you can contact Emily now if you would like to sponsor the event!
Or, if you just want to donate a few dollars, you can do so via the paypal form at the bottom of any page on this website. Every transaction takes place in a secure environment at paypal's server, but you don't need a paypal account to complete the transaction. We have a wish-list below if you want to let us know which one of the items you would like to help us purchase. There is a note field on the paypal donation form.
We also have a wish list if you would like to make a donation of one of the needed items.