Tell the Feds: Do More to Protect Mexican Wolves

Under USFWS' proposal, Mexican wolves would be confined to the striped area, preventing them from establishing additional core populations in the Grand Canyon region and southern Rockies, and isolating them genetically from wolves elsewhere. Base map LA Times.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a proposed rule change to the Mexican wolf recovery program.

These changes (two good and many bad) are very important to the survival of Mexican wolves. USFWS wil be taking public commentary until 11:59pm EST 09/23/2014.

1. One good change is to allow direct releases of Mexican wolves throughout the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. The USFWS should put the rest of their proposed rule on hold and speed up approval for more direct releases in expanded areas.

This change has been recommended by experts for over 10 years and can be made faster and with less bureaucratic delay than any other part of the proposed rule. The current rule allows direct releases only in a small area in Arizona, comprising about 16 percent of the entire recovery area.

2. The proposed rule effectively prevents wolves returning to the Grand Canyon region, including northern Arizona and southern Utah, or to northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. The USFWS should eliminate boundaries to the wolves’ movement.

Scientists say that at least two additional populations of Mexican wolves are necessary for their recovery and genetic health, as is the ability for wolves to move among populations. Yet the proposed rule, although it allows wolves to roam over a larger area than currently allowed, would still prevent Mexican wolves from recolonizing these important areas and make it nearly impossible to establish additional populations.

3. The USFWS should not continue the fiction of designating Mexican gray wolves as an "experimental, non-essential" population. By labeling all of the wild wolves as “nonessential” the USFWS ignores science, logic and reality.

The USFWS is proposing to continue with the "nonessential" classification of wild Mexican wolves--a regulatory term under the Endangered Species Act that provides less protection than an "essential" designation. The agency claims that even if all of the 83 wolves in the wild--the only Mexican wolves in the wild, with the possible exception of a few recently reintroduced wolves in Mexico--are wiped out, this is not “likely to appreciably reduce the likelihood” of survival of lobos in the wild. Huh? This defies logic.

4. The USFWS needs to quit stalling and complete a comprehensive recovery plan – and let the public see it – at the same time as or before changing the current rule (except for allowing wolves to be reintroduced into additional suitable places).

USFWS admits that their present, typewritten, 1982 recovery plan is not scientifically sound and does not meet current legal requirements – yet in its proposed rule USFWS continues to emphasize a woefully inadequate population of only 100 wolves in the wild.

When USFWS published the current rule in 1998 they said they expected to put out a new recovery plan for the public to comment on later that year; 15 years later, there still is no scientific or legally adequate recovery plan! The proposed rule puts the cart before the horse and should come with or after – not before – an updated recovery plan.

In addition to submitting comments, contacting your legislators is also a great way to speak for wolves.

Residents of New Mexico:

Senator Martin Heinrich: or 202-224-5521

Senator Tom Udall: or 202-224-6621

Residents of any other state :

Find your congressional representatives here

Contact Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior

Not sure what to say? Check out our Activist Toolkit for tips of writing to elected/appointed officials.