“Don’t give wolf opponents tracking frequencies”

Mexican gray wolf pups Lobos of the Southwest

July 2o, 2010

That’s the title of a recent letter to the Arizona Star.

Telemetry devices were given out to Southwestern ranchers when Mexican gray wolves were first reintroduced, apparently so ranchers would use them to keep track of any wolves approaching their cows. The USFWS handed out the telemetry to people who were no friend to the wolf. No wonder Mexican gray wolves have been so heavily poached. Did USFWS ever think for one minute this could be a disaster for the very wolves they were supposed to protect, making it easier to  find and kill them?  Apparently not.

The USFWS  should IMMEDIATELY AND WITHOUT DELAY collect every single one of those radio receivers. It’s not as if they haven’t known about this problem for years.

KTAR.com reported on the suspected abuse of radio telemetry to hunt down Mexican gray wolves back in 2008.  Fifteen conservation groups called for an investigation into  a wolf baiting incident concerning a ranch hand from the Adobe-Slash ranch, which is owned by a Mexican businessman. Cows from the ranch heavily graze the Gila National Forest, part of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. One of their ranch hands was accused of baiting wolves to trigger the  “three strikes rule”. The rule was scraped last year but it meant if a wolf was implicated in three cattle deaths, they would be killed.

From KTAR.com: Updated Jan 3, 2008 – 1:48 pm

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been looking into a December report in High Country News _ an online, independent biweekly news magazine _ that quoted an employee of Adobe-Slash Ranch in Catron County, Mike Miller, as saying, “We would sacrifice a calf to get a third strike.” The article alleged ranch hands branded cattle near the wolf’s den.

Miller denied the allegations in the article, written by contributing editor John Dougherty. High Country News editor Jonathan Thompson said the magazine stands by its story.

The conservation groups also asked for an investigation by law enforcement, with prosecution if warranted.

They also asked that radio telemetry receivers “that may be used to facilitate illegal baiting” be taken away. Telemetry receivers let ranchers know where certain radio-collared wolves are.

The high rate of wolf poaching and suspicious disappearances strongly suggests that the federal take of wolves, the telemetry receivers and other substantial steps taken by the (Fish and Wildlife) Service to conciliate the livestock industry have not resulted in reducing illegal take _ they may have contributed to the opposite result,” the letter said.”

The Center for Biological Diversity released this statement:

For Immediate Release, January 3, 2008

Contact: Michael Robinson

Conservationists Request Investigations of Reported Wolf Baiting

SILVER CITY, N.M.— Fifteen conservation groups wrote Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today requesting an independent inspector general investigationinto a reported baiting of endangered Mexican gray wolves. The baiting scheme, in which vulnerable cattle were allegedly left near a wolf den, resulted in a rare wolf being shot by the federal government.

The letter to Kempthorne states in part: “The possibility that illegal take was perpetrated through abuse of government-provided telemetry radio receivers and through taking advantage of SOP 13, the rigid predator-control protocol applied to Mexican wolves, merits thorough investigation.”

Conservationists are also requesting a law enforcement investigation, retrieval of radio telemetry receivers that may be used to facilitate illegal baiting, and release back into the wild of trapped wolves that may also have been baited on the same ranch. In addition, in separate letters to the  Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, the concerned groups request the cancellation of grazing permits.

According to the December 24, 2007 High Country News article that broke the wolf-baiting story, ranch employee Mike Miller “branded cattle less than a half-mile from the wolves’ den, the enticing aroma of seared flesh surely reaching the pack’s super-sensitive nostrils. Miller was, in essence, offering up a cow as a sacrifice.” In fact, the article quotes Miller as saying: “We would sacrifice a calf to get a third strike” — referring to depredations in the so-called “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” rule governing the Mexican wolves, formally known as SOP 13. Miller is quoted in a subsequent Albuquerque Journal article as denying that he made such an admission.

The conservationists’ letters specifically seek the following actions:

• A law enforcement investigation of the incident described in the magazine High Country News, along with prosecution if merited.

• An independent inspector general investigation of whether wolves were removed from the same ranch subsequent to the Fish and       Wildlife Service learning about the alleged baiting, the granting of government telemetry receivers to the livestock industry and/or rogue county governments, and related questions.

• Cancellation of grazing and outfitting permits held by any person found to have baited wolves. (The foreign-owned ranch where the incident is alleged to have taken place holds multiple Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and state grazing permits.)

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2008/mexican-wolves-01-03-2008.html

It’s been two years and the USFWS still hasn’t addressed this issue, which threatens the lives of endangered wolves under their care.  AND cattle still roam in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area? Isn’t it time to start pulling grazing leases?

America is in danger of losing a wolf sub-species forever, due in part to prior misguided policies. These wolves belong to all Americans, not just a few wolf haters who want them gone from the Southwest.

Please keep the Hawks Nest alpha female in your thoughts. She is alone, in that vast landscape, with seven pups and one female yearling wolf to help raise them. Her mate and a yearling male from the pack were shot to death by a heartless, brutal poacher.  This is a war on Mexican gray wolves and it must be stopped.

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Don’t give wolf opponents tracking frequencies

Letters to the Editor

Posted: Sunday, July 18, 2010 4:00 am

http://www.azdailysun.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article_0e007b6d-61ba-5fa4-b2aa-bcbd8f59befe.html

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The Humane Society of the U.S. and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the party responsible in the shooting death of the Hawks Nest wolf. Coupled with the government’s reward, the total amount offered is now up to $54,500.

$50,000 REWARD

For information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone illegally killing a Mexican Gray Wolf.

Or transporting Mexican wolf hides or parts.

Contact U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

at any of the following numbers:

(480) 967-7900 [Mesa AZ]

(928) 339-4232 [Alpine, AZ]

(505) 346-7828 [Albuquerque, NM]

Or call your local state Game and Fish office:

Arizona (800) 352-0700 New Mexico (800) 862-9310

POSTED BY PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS & PUBLIC INTEREST GROUPS

REPRESENTING MILLIONS OF CONCERNED CITIZENS.

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Photo: Courtesy Lobos of the Southwest

Posted in: Mexican gray wolves, Wolf Wars

Tags: radio telemetry receivers, poaching/pond-scum, Hawks Nest Pack, Paradise Pack, San Mateo Pack

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