Here we go again. Ranchers in the Southwest can’t tolerate 52 Mexican Gray wolves. How pathetic is this? In the expanse of New Mexico and Arizona there is no place for wolves to recover?
This is what happens when the feds cater to ranchers. They will never be happy. And they know that most of their cattle losses come from disease, reproduction and weather. But it makes good PR to keep hammering the wolves. Sad enough both the Middle Fork Pack alphas in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest have only three legs each, one lost to a bullet and the other to a leg hold trap…and they’re RAISING PUPPIES!!
Settling a lawsuit brought by conservation organizations, the Fish and Wildlife Service reasserted its authority over a multiagency management team and scrapped a controversial wolf “control” rule that required permanently removing a wolf from the wild, either lethally or through capture, after killing three livestock in a year. Conservationists had criticized the rigid policy, known as Standard Operating Procedure 13 or SOP 13, for forcing wolves to be killed or sent to captivity regardless of an individual wolf’s genetic importance, dependent pups or the critically low numbers of wolves in the wild.
At last count in January 2009, there were just 52 Mexican gray wolves and only two breeding pairs in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. Another count will take place in January 2010. Before reintroduction began in 1998, the Fish and Wildlife Service had projected 102 wolves including 18 breeding pairs by the end of 2006, with numbers expected to rise thereafter.
Well it’s almost 2010 and the feds have failed miserably to re-establish the Mexican Gray wolf. Twelve years have gone by and there are still only 52 wolves because people keep shooting them!! Wildlife Services has taken them out, they’ve been shot illegally, baited.
Bud Fazio is now heading the Mexican Gray wolf program. I believe he ran the Red Wolf program successfully in the Carolina’s. He has his work cut out for him!!
I say stop limiting the wolves recovery to a few small areas. How about Grand Canyon National Park for starters? Let’s think outside the box here. The highly endangered Middle Fork Pack with their three legged alphas are surrounded by a sea of cattle in the Gila.
Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity states:
“Lackadaisical Forest Service management, severe grazing during drought, trespass stock, and scattered carcasses of cattle that died of non-wolf causes which draw wolves in to scavenge, all guarantee continued conflicts between wolves and livestock,” pointed out Robinson.
“Preventing conflicts with livestock on the national forests makes more sense than scapegoating endangered wolves once conflicts begin,” said Robinson.”
The Beaverhead area has a history of wolves scavenging on carcasses of cattle that they had not killed, and then subsequently beginning to hunt live cattle. This spring, the Center for Biological Diversity documented sixteen dead cattle, none of them with any signs of wolf predation, within a few miles of the Middle Fork’s den site.
Independent scientists have repeatedly recommended that owners of livestock using the public lands be required to remove or render unpalatable (as by lime, for example) the carcasses of cattle and horses that die of non-wolf causes — such as starvation, disease or poisonous weeds — before wolves scavenge on them and then switch from preying on elk to livestock. No such requirements have been implemented.”
So ranchers just turn their cattle loose, cattle die, not from wolves but their carcasses aren’t removed. What does this teach wolves? Are they gong to pass up a free meal to scavage on dead cows, which only teaches them to feed on cattle.
It always comes back to livestock when discussing wolves. We need a new paradigm. Here’s a thought, get the cattle off our public lands, especially since rules are being broken by not removing dead cows. Then maybe wolves can thrive without a gun to their heads.
When will ranchers realize that wolf recovery in the Southwest is not all about them. I wish the feds would put the wolves first for once. Is that too much to ask??
Wolf recovery at crossroads in the Southwest
All Photos: Wikimedia Commons
Posted in: Mexican Gray Wolf, wolf recovery, Wolf Wars, Public land degredation by livestock
Tags: wolf recovery, Wildlife Services, wolves in the crossfire