Fish and Wildlife Service’s new proposed management rule to hamper recovery for Mexican gray wolves

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 24, 2014

Contact: Courtney Sexton, csexton@defenders.org, 202-772-0253

Fish and Wildlife Service’s new proposed management rule to hamper recovery for Mexican gray wolves

Proposal’s benefits outweighed by increased leniency regarding killing of the imperiled lobos

TUCSON – Today, the Fish and Wildlife Service published a revised draft of the rule governing management of Mexican gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act that includes provisions that would allow for increased take—or killing—of the critically endangered animals. There will be public hearings and a comment period for citizens to address the proposal. There are currently only about 83 wolves in the wild in the southwest United States.

The following is a statement from Eva Sargent, Director of Southwest Programs, Defenders of Wildlife:

“The new proposal is based on fear and politics, not science. While it allows wolf releases and dispersal over a broader area, it also allows increased killing of these iconic and endangered lobos. When the best science tells you that the population can’t recover unless killing is reduced, it doesn’t make sense to come up with more reasons to do the opposite. The proposal also hints – with talk of management of wolves outside the recovery area – that Mexican wolves will not be allowed into habitats that scientists tell us are absolutely essential to their recovery.

“With a draft proposal like this, the Fish and Wildlife Service is ignoring the best peer-reviewed science – the recommendations of its own recovery team – and instead caving in to anti-wolf fears and prejudices.

“The Service is well aware of what Mexican gray wolves need in order to have a fighting chance at survival and recovery in the wild—a updated science-based recovery plan must be finalized and implemented as soon as possible; more breeding pairs must be released; and at least two additional core populations must be established in suitable habitat. For the wolves, it’s high-time conservation goals trumped political ones.”

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Public Informational Sessions and Public Hearings: The Fish and Wildlife Service will hold two public informational sessions and two public hearings on this proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement: 

Public informational session from 2:00p.m. to 4:00 p.m., followed by a public hearing from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., in Pinetop, Arizona, on Monday, August 11, 2014 at the Hon-Dah Conference Center, 777 Highway 260, Pinetop, Arizona 85935.

Public informational session from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., followed by a public hearing from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at the Civic Center, 400 West Fourth Street, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico 87901.

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org.

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