Local & Regional News
Feds: No wolves to roam in Grand Canyon
Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted on July 25, 2014 by Eric Betz
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is scrapping any immediate plans to allow the beleaguered Mexican gray wolf population to expand north to the Grand Canyon, as many wolf advocates and scientists have advocated in recent years.
But wolves could still roam as far north as Flagstaff, so long as they didn't cross Interstate 40.
On Thursday, the federal government published its long-awaited draft environmental impact statement, as well as revisions to proposed rule changes for the wolf population in Arizona and New Mexico. Depending on the final plan, it could be the most significant change for the Mexican gray wolf since being reintroduced to the wild following their extermination.
The proposal drastically expands the potential wolf habitat beyond its current small range along the New Mexico-Arizona border, where the animal has been limited since 1998. Under most alternatives in the proposed plan, wolves would be able to roam in New Mexico and Arizona from Interstate 40 south to the border of Mexico.
Wolves wandering north to habitat on the San Francisco Peaks or Grand Canyon National Park and beyond would be removed.
Federal Plan Would Expand Wolf Territory in Arizona, New Mexico
The Arizona Republic (Original) Posted on July 24, 2014 by Brandon Loomis
Arizona's imperiled but rebounding wolf population is set to get a vastly increased range, but also perhaps a shorter leash around livestock and wildlife, under new rules proposed by federal wildlife officials.
The Mexican gray wolf — an endangered subspecies that lives only in Arizona, New Mexico, and with one new pack in Mexico — until now has been confined to a 4.4 million-acre forested mountain stronghold called the Blue Range. All releases of captive-bred wolves and transplants of roaming wolves have been confined to that zone straddling the Arizona-New Mexico line in the Apache and Gila national forests.
If the federal proposal is adopted after a 60-day comment period that starts today, wolves that behave themselves will be welcome anywhere south of Interstate 40. On paper, that's 98 million acres, though only about a fifth of that is considered suitable wolf habitat.
Let wild wolves roam in wilderness
Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Letter to the Editor Posted on June 13, 2014 by Nicole Walker
To the editor:
The Mexican gray wolf, nearly eradicated to a population of only seven, was reintroduced to a small contiguous region in New Mexico and Arizona in 1998. Since then, the number of wolves in the region has grown to only 83 — a much, much smaller number than is feasible for genetic viability. The proposed expanded "wolf zone" is bounded by two freeways, I-10 and I-40.
If a wolf crosses beyond the boundaries of this narrow band of land, it is "relocated," which often does not go well for the wolf.
It is time to let the wolf roam further north, toward the Grand Canyon, where the people who live there and visit there do so for what the wolf represents: open spaces, ecologically sound land, wild animals and the dream of wilderness.
Wolves are not the dangerous animals conveyed by the media. They are intelligent, family-oriented creatures. A bit like us.
Even if we put all human proclivities above animals, we, by confining the wolf to one small region and preventing the wolf population from growing, effectively destroy the wildness of wilderness.
Editorial: Game and Fish Should Wait For Full Wolf EIS
Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted May 15, 2014, Editorial
There is no easy answer to the question: Why bring back endangered Mexican gray wolves?
The habitat in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico has been changed through logging and ranching.
The land beyond the initial release zone is full of dangerous, high-speed highways.
And there is strong criticism in the region of federal land management, undermining any federal effort to make the reintroduction program collaborative.
Any one of those factors would make the wolf project difficult; taken together, they would seem to doom it.
But federal wildlife managers have pressed on, and recently they have taken the initiative on two fronts.
State: No Mexican gray wolves for Flagstaff area
Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted May 11, 2014 by Eric Betz
A collection of hunting advocacy groups have signed onto a plan with the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, calling Mexican gray wolf recovery impossible in the Southwest without habitat in Mexico. The plan seeks to create a corridor that would allow wolves to head toward Mexico and disperse.
Conservationists said the state plan is not based on science and would harm efforts to re-establish wolves in the Southwest.
Game and Fish bases its plan on a contested claim that 90 percent of the Mexican gray wolf historical range lies south of the U.S. border. The state plan would restrict habitat north of the border to areas it defines as historical habitat.
The state agency would also keep wolves from reaching Flagstaff and all areas west of Payson because they have a poor "prey base" and are too heavily populated with humans. The plan says that the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, as well as Colorado and Utah, should not be used because they are outside the historical range of the wolf.
But the state's idea that Mexican wolves should stay in a restricted historical region, including south of Interstate 40, contrasts with a scientific research as well as a draft recovery plan leaked from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service several years ago.
Researchers studying wolf genetics at the University of California Los Angeles found that northern gray wolves wandered as far south as Arizona and Mexican wolves roamed north in Utah and Colorado. Their genetics were mixed and biologists say they can't rule out that Mexican gray wolves might have originally come south from Canada.
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