Local & Regional News
Commission follows politics, not science
Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Letter to the Editor Posted August 19, 2015 by Toni Prothero
To the editor:
Thank you for the recent article by Dave Parsons regarding the recovery of the Mexican wolf in Arizona. Mr. Parsons is a scientist with direct experience of the efforts to recover this species and well-qualified to critique the decisions of policymakers like Arizona Game and Fish Commission and Representative Gosar.
I attended the recent meeting of the Commission in Flagstaff and was appalled at their decision to oppose any more releases of adult wolves from captive breeding facilities and to rely solely on cross-fostering of captive-born pups. This is a very difficult technique to accomplish and, in fact, failed this year.
I have no doubt that many excellent people work for Arizona Game and Fish and work hard for the Mexican wolf's recovery, but the Commission is another matter. They are political appointees and their decisions are based on politics and not on peer-reviewed science, which is quite clear as to what is needed to save the species: access to suitable habitat north of I-40, an end to killings and removals, at least two more populations with the ability to intermingle among the populations, and expedited releases of adults from captivity for the genetic rescue of the species.
None of these points is evident in the Commission's plans -- quite the opposite, in fact. The current population of Mexican wolves is very small and vulnerable. We cannot afford to let them slip away into extinction as almost occurred before. The Commission would better serve the people of Arizona by following the science.
Theology, biology agree on wolves
Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Letter to the Editor Posted August 15, 2015 by Sarah King
To the editor:
I read with interest the guest columns presenting opposing views on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission's deliberations (and recent decision) on the future of the Mexican gray wolf recovery program. Both writers presented scientific facts -- and in one case, misstatements of fact -- to back up their conclusions. I'd like to add a different voice to the debate -- the theological one.
Mexican wolves still threatened by Gosar bill
Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Special Posted on August 13, 2015 by David Parsons
In his August 6 op-ed, David Wolf presents the "facts" about Mexican wolf recovery. Alas, one person's facts are often another's fiction. I don't know Mr. Wolf's credentials. I have a Master of Science degree in wildlife biology and served as Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1990-1999. I have followed the recovery program ever since, and am a member of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team.
Mr. Wolf claims wild Mexican wolves' "survival and reproductive potential has increased many fold over the pen-raised wolves the program started with in 1998." This claim has not been proven, but we do know that the wild population is highly inbred and that without new releases of captive wolves, each new wild generation becomes increasingly inbred. Currently, wild Mexican wolves are on average as related as brothers and sisters. Important genetically diverse Mexican wolves are available in captivity, but new releases have been restricted for many years by the Arizona Game Commission, which at its last meeting prohibited the additional releases of captive adult wolves and allowed only six captive-born pups to be released annually by placing them with wild litters in their dens—a tricky experimental technique called "cross fostering." So far, there has been one placement of two pups in a den and one surviving pup has been confirmed. There is no scientific foundation for the Commission's edict.
Mr. Wolf is correct that the "core" of historical Mexican wolf habitat is in Mexico. However, habitats with the highest potential for recovering Mexican wolves are in the United States. Scientists (some from Mexico) appointed by the Fish and Wildlife Service to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team concluded that additional habitats in northern Arizona / southern Utah and northern New Mexico / southern Colorado are essential to recovery and long-term survival of Mexican wolves.
Mr. Wolf asserts that Arizona Game and Fish Department "is more than capable of and will see the program to a successful conclusion." The department assumed authority over management decisions for the wild population from 2003 to 2009. The wild population exactly matched projections at 55 wolves in 2003. Six years later, it declined to 42 wolves, which led to a federal court settlement that returned management authority to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Two years later, the population was back to the 2003 level. Eight years of the 17-year reintroduction effort were wasted and important genetic diversity squandered under state control.
If Representative Gosar succeeds in taking Mexican wolves off of the Federal endangered species list, their extinction would be likely.
David Parsons is a retired wildlife biologist who lives in New Mexico.
Wolves far from in recovery
Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Letter to the Editor Posted on August 7, 2015 by Roxane George
To the editor:
How ironic that David Wolf's August 6th column claiming to present "the facts" on the status of Mexican gray wolves is itself rife with fallacies. The most glaring of these is Wolf's claim that with only 109 Mexican gray wolves in a single population in the wild, and another 250 in captivity, they are no longer close to extinction. They are, in fact, one of the world's most endangered wolves, and they desperately need the federal protections Gosar's bill would remove.
Like Arizona Game and Fish, Wolf implies that we need not recover our native wolves in the Southwest because a significant portion of the lobo's historic habitat was in Mexico. This is indicative of a mindset that still sees wolves as a problem to be rid of, rather than important, intelligent animals that can help make our wildlands whole, and our deer and elk herds healthy. Thousands of these wolves roamed the Southwest prior to European settlement. They belong here.
While Arizona Game and Fish biologists contribute greatly to Mexican wolf reintroduction, the politically appointed Commission has repeatedly acted to subvert wolf recovery. Just one day after Wolf's column was published, the Commission voted to keep genetically valuable adult wolves in captivity while the wild population becomes increasingly genetically impoverished.
Our lobos need genetic rescue, two new populations north of I-40, and a science-based recovery plan. They don't need barriers to recovery erected by Arizona's Game and Fish Commission or misleading newspaper columns about their plight.
Press Release: Mexican Gray Wolf Supporters Rally at Arizona Game and Fish Meeting
Arizonans Protest Commission's Interference with Wolf Recovery.
For Immediate Release: August 7, 2015
Contacts for members of the media:
Mexican Gray Wolf Supporters Rally at Arizona Game and Fish Meeting
Arizonans Protest Commission's Interference with Wolf Recovery
FLAGSTAFF, AZ — Wildlife supporters from across the state, including scientists and activists from the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, Sierra Club, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, and Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, rallied Friday at the Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting at Little America to protest the commissioners' actions to undermine the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction and recovery, and to express their support for the highly endangered wolves.
Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project executive director Emily Renn told the large crowd of wolf supporters, "With only 110 in the wild, Mexican gray wolves are one of the most endangered wolves in the world. They are beautiful, intelligent animals that, given a chance, can help restore the health of our wild lands and keep elk and deer populations in balance. But we need an Arizona Game and Fish Commission that doesn't just pay lip service to wolf recovery while its actions endanger the wolves' survival."
- Wolves backed by science, public
- Utah hunter who killed gray wolf won't be charged
- No charges against Utah cougar hunter who killed Echo the wandering wolf: “I had a shot and took it.”
- Removing wolf protection will be lethal
- Gosar bill is wolf in sheep’s clothing
- More killed by cows than wolves
- Managing wolves means better data
- Why not simply release more wolves?
- Cross-fostering pups a partial solution
- Wolf adoption becomes part of species recovery plan
- Release more wolves from captivity
- Missouri site helping effort to repopulate US wolves
- Press Release: A Celebration of Our Environment!
- Opinion: The wolf’s journey ends in Utah
- Lessons From the Brief, Lonesome Life of Echo the Wolf
- Press Release: Endangered Mexican gray wolf population reaches 109
- Wolf killed in Utah was animal from rare Arizona sighting
- Press Release: Confirmed - Echo, the First Wolf in Over 70 years at Grand Canyon, Is Dead
- What's a wolf to do? Go vegan, apparently
- Wolves get more area to roam in Ariz., N.M.
- OPINION: Who has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf?
- Hoooowl no! Canyon wolf may have been killed
- Press Release: Grand Canyon Wolf Named “Echo” in World-wide Contest
- Rules allowing wolf kills loosened
- Study: Wolf kills might not work
- Press Release: Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf Rule Would Hinder Species Recovery
- Gray Wolf Near Grand Canyon’s North Rim Endured Long, Harrowing Journey
- Press Release: DNA Tests Confirm First Wolf in Over 70 years is Living near Grand Canyon’s North Rim
- Wolves, livestock have coexisted elsewhere
- Gray wolves return to Grand Canyon?
- Gray Wolf Spotted in Grand Canyon for First Time in Decades?
- Wolf-like animal seen roaming in northern Arizona
- Like fox guarding the henhouse
- Wolves, antelope can co-exist
- Putting wolves on North Kaibab now might work better
- Wolf Expansion Long Overdue
- Feds: No wolves to roam in Grand Canyon
- Federal Plan Would Expand Wolf Territory in Arizona, New Mexico
- Let wild wolves roam in wilderness
- Editorial: Game and Fish Should Wait For Full Wolf EIS
- State: No Mexican gray wolves for Flagstaff area
- Guest Column: Game and Fish plan makes it easier to kill wolves
- Guest Opinion: Game and Fish can't be trusted with wolf program
- Wild Battle Rages Over Wolves, Wilderness And Politics Of Extinction
- Brewer vetoes bill letting ranchers kill endangered wolves on federal lands
- Wolves make the elk herd strong
- State Legislature Attempts to Limit Federal Wolf Reintroduction
- Alpha wolf pack sighted in Flagstaff
- Wolf Wanderers blog post
- Letter to the Editor: Thorpe's wolf story too one-sided
- Anti-wolf bills clear case of over-reaction
- House should listen to public on wolf issue
- Bob Thorpe trims wolf proposal
- Legislators work to cap gray wolves in Arizona
- Denying federal authority costly, inconsistent
- Wolves are in the crosshairs, thanks to Sen. Gail Griffin
- Thorpe takes up cause of Arizona ranchers losing cattle to wolves
- Wolf plan reignites passions
- National Wolf Awareness Week Event to Affect the Future of Wolves in AZ
- Mexican gray wolf: Where the wild things aren’t
- New study forecasts genetic risks to wolves in western US unless dispersal can connect isolated populations
- Letter to the Editor: Writer's wolf argument holds water
- Coconino Voices: Wolves deserve wider range
- Letter to the Editor: Let wolves roam more widely
- Editorial: Wolf expansion plan needs more details
- Wolves to roam toward Flagstaff?
- Arizona Endangered Wolves Still On The Brink
- Press Release: Scientists Call on Obama Administration to Keep Gray Wolves Protected Under Endangered Species Act
- Sedona Lecture Series focuses on Mexican Gray Wolf – April 8
- Howling-Good Films: Wild and Scenic Film Festival Visits Flagstaff and Benefits Local Wolf Recovery Project
- 15 Years of Mexican Gray Wolves: Celebrate or Sob?
- Arizona commission backs request to remove wolves from endangered list
- Wolves in Utah
- Attempt to strip dollars for anti-wolf lobbyist fails
- Why keep wolves out?
- Editorial: Just cry wolf
- Anti-wolf group likely to get second $300,000 Utah payment
- Legislators steering another $300,000 to anti-wolf crusade
- Expert: Still a Long Road Ahead for Mexican Wolf Recovery
- Why not control elk with wolves?
- Number Rose for Endangered Wolves in 2012
- Elk Targeted Over Aspen
- Grand Canyon Elk Go From Attraction To Menace
- Team's daily job is to manage wolves back from the brink of extinction
- Idea for Wolf Diversity Draws Ire
- We can still save the Mexican gray wolf
- Follow the Trail
- Reintroduce wolves to control bison
- Canyon backcountry users weigh in on access
- Delisting Mexican wolves sets dangerous precedent
- Mexican gray wolves deserve protection
- Wolves in wilderness part of divine splendor
- Coconino Voices: Wolves on rise but far away from recovery
- Arizona's wolves need a break
- Game and Fish abandoning gray wolves
- Mexican gray wolves due more protection
- Don't give wolf opponents tracking frequencies
- Song of the wolf long overdue here
- Wolf return connects us to natural world
- North Rim wolf revival?