Tell the USFWS to Save Mexican Gray Wolves

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Essential Mexican Gray Wolf

The Mexican gray wolf is one of the most endangered mammals in North America; only 163 remain in the wild in the United States.

Despite numerous threats that menace this single, fragile population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the very agency charged by federal law to recover endangered species, has been managing the wild population via egregious measures that undermine Mexican gray wolf recovery.

The Service’s current Mexican wolf 10(j) management rule:

  • increases allowable killing,
  • fails to provide adequate protection for the loss of genetically valuable wolves,
  • sets a scientifically unsound population cap of 300-325 wolves and allows the killing of any wolves beyond this arbitrary number,
  • arbitrarily prevents wolves from finding essential native habitat by restricting wolf dispersal north of Interstate 40,
  • and fails to consider the wild population as “essential” to the recovery of Mexican gray wolves in the wild.

A coalition of conservation groups filed suit to challenge the management provisions, and in 2018, a federal court ruled in their favor. The judge found that the 10(j) management rule further imperiled the species, and directed USFWS to revise the way it manages Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.

Now is our opportunity to convince USFWS to comply with the court order and make the necessary management changes to ensure the long-term recovery of this unique wolf.

The USFWS is accepting public input on the proposed changes to the 10(j) Management Rule – Comments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. ET on June 15, 2020.

Consider using additional talking points to guide your comments, but please personalize your message. Nothing is as effective as speaking from the heart.Talking Points

The Wolf Conservation Center will submit all written comments via the federal register. Your confirmation email will also include a copy of your comments and guidance on how to submit them yourself.

Recipients

  • United States Fish & Wildlife Service

Message

Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2020-0007 – Revise Mexican gray wolf management to ensure recovery

Dear [Decision Maker],

As a lifelong supporter of Endangered Species Act (ESA) and someone who cares deeply for our nation’s wildlife, I’m writing to ask you to revise the 10(j) rule governing the management of endangered Mexican gray wolves to provide for the long-term survival of this unique species.

The Mexican gray wolf is one of the most endangered mammals in North America; only 163 remain in the wild in the United States.

A federal court rejected several provisions of the current Mexican wolf 10(j) management rule for failing to further the conservation of the Mexican wolf, and ruled that imposing these measures would be a violation of the ESA.

The judge particularly faulted the 10(j) rule for its:

– failure to consider the only wild Mexican gray wolf population as “essential” to the recovery of the species

– scientifically unsound population cap of 300-325 wolves, and allowing the killing of any wolves beyond this arbitrary number

– relaxed rules on the killing of Mexican wolves due to livestock conflicts or impacts on their natural prey

– failure to provide adequate protection for the loss of genetically valuable wolves

– arbitrary boundary restricting wolf dispersal north of Interstate 40

The management of this endangered gray wolf subspecies must follow the law and the science on Mexican wolf recovery. Please incorporate the following elements into the final rule to ensure Mexican gray wolf recovery.


* Personalize your message ESSENTIAL DESIGNATION Mexican gray wolves need greater protection under the Endangered Species Act with a designation of “essential” for the wild population. GEOGRAPHIC BOUNDARIES The new rule must eliminate artificial boundaries that prevent dispersal. The Mexican Wolf Recovery Team’s Science and Planning Subgroup (SPS), scientists appointed by USFWS for their recognized expertise in scientific disciplines relevant to Mexican wolf recovery, emphasize that the Mexican gray wolf’s long-term survival requires connected habitats north of the Interstate 40, including the Grand Canyon region and portions of southern Utah and Colorado. POPULATION CAP The new rule must not include a population cap. Scientists recommend a minimum of three, naturally connected sub-populations of at least 200 individuals each, collectively comprising a meta-population of at least 750 wolves in the US Southwest. WOLF REMOVAL ORDERS Every Mexican gray wolf on the ground is essential. Lethal control must be restricted to cases in which they pose a likely threat to human health or safety. The new rule must also include higher thresholds for initiating wolf removals. Wolves must not be removed from the wild for their predation on wildlife such as elk or deer. Public land grazing permittees must practice basic animal husbandry and remove livestock carcasses or render the carcasses inedible to prevent savaging by wolves. If livestock carcasses on public land attract wolves who subsequently prey on livestock in the vicinity, those wolves shall not be removed from the wild. Public land grazing permittees must also be required to take non-lethal measures to prevent conflicts to protect livestock. If wolves prey on livestock when the permittee is cognizant of the nearby presence of wolves but fails to take measures to protect the livestock, wolves shall not be removed from the wild. Any permittee found guilty of the illegal killing or injuring of a Mexican wolf shall have their livestock grazing permits revoked. GENETIC HEALTH Mexican wolf’s genetic imperilment requires an active program of releasing more genetically diverse wolves into the wild to capitalize on the remaining genetic potential available in the captive population. While we applaud the agency’s dedication to cross-fostering, this should not be the only strategy used to increase genetic diversity in the wild population. Given the severity of the wild Mexican gray wolf population’s genetic crisis, USFWS should also resume releasing pair-bonded adult male and female Mexican gray wolves with pups into the wild — the means by which reintroduction was initiated in 1998 and successfully undertaken until abandoned under political pressure in 2007. The final rule should also include a “Replacement Release Objective”, which would allow USFWS to release wolves from the captive breeding population into the existing wild wolf population to replace wolves that have been removed from the wild population due to illegal killings or mortality caused by USFWS management activity. Replacement wolves from the more genetically diverse captive population would maximize genetic diversity of the wild wolf population. BEST AVAILABLE SCIENCE Lastly, the new rule must contain provisions based on the best available science. The judge particularly faulted government officials for disregarding the advice of expert scientists who warned that the new management rule would hinder the Mexican wolf’s recovery.

The new management rule must follow the law and the science on Mexican gray wolf recovery. Now is our opportunity right our wrongs from the past by taking the necessary steps to ensure the long-term recovery of this unique and essential species.

WOLF CONSERVATION CENTER

7 Buck Run, South Salem, NY 10590
Mailing address: P.O. Box 421 South Salem, NY 10590
Phone: 914-763-2373

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