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You are here: Opinions Viewpoints Watchdog group: Fed officials plan to recover endangered Mexican Gray Wolves

Watchdog group: Fed officials plan to recover endangered Mexican Gray Wolves

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SILVER CITY, N.M.— Responding to a legal victory by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced April 13 that it will release a draft revision to its 2017 Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan. The new draft, which will be released April 14, is intended to provide measures to reduce human-caused mortality that the 2017 plan lacked.

“This plan has to recognize that each wolf-killing is a tragedy for the victim, pack members, and the endangered Mexican gray wolf subspecies that so many people have dedicated themselves to saving from extinction,” said the Center’s Michael Robinson. “I hope the government will finally take resolute action. Wildlife officials should start by retrieving the telemetry receivers loaned out to ranchers. Biologists are the only ones who should have these powerful tools to strip wolves of their ability to stay hidden.”

From 1998, when the wolves were reintroduced, through 2020, 119 wolves were confirmed killed illegally. Dozens more radio-collared wolves disappeared suspiciously. Last year 25 wolves died. Mortality causes have not been disclosed for most.

Among the fewer than 10 people who pleaded guilty in illegal killings, at least two possessed telemetry receivers preprogrammed by the government to wolf radio-collar frequencies.

According to the Service’s announcement, the plan calls for education and outreach “to improve hunter, trapper, rancher, and public awareness and tolerance of wolves.”

“Urging tolerance for wolves while giving wolf-killers the tools to locate them doesn’t sound cutting edge and innovative anymore,” said Robinson. “It’s a bad joke that’s already been told too many times. The recovery plan revision process must logically connect federal actions to the broader goal of saving these endangered animals.”

The draft revised recovery plan’s release will start a 30-day public comment period.

In addition to the Center, plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to tomorrow’s draft revised plan were Defenders of Wildlife, Endangered Wolf Center, Wolf Conservation Center and retired Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican wolf recovery coordinator David R. Parsons. The plaintiffs were represented by EarthJustice.

By Michael Robinson
Center for Biological Diversity