Judge: Plan for Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Must Address Poaching
Thursday, October 21, 2021
ALBUQUERUE, N.M. - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has six months to develop new language in its Mexican gray wolf recovery plan, after a judge ruled the problem of illegal killing of wolves was not adequately addressed.
The judge's ruling was in response to a lawsuit by conservation groups, including Defenders of Wildlife. Defenders' Southwest Program Manager Bryan Bird said one of the highest sources of wolf mortality is poaching by humans, and protections are needed for that.
"Whether that's increased law enforcement, or increased education of the public," said Bird. "They have to put those in their recovery plan, explicitly."
The group's 2018 lawsuit claimed that the federal agency's plan failed to meet basic requirements of the Endangered Species Act. Mexican gray wolves or "lobos" became one of the most endangered mammals due to federally sanctioned hunting, trapping and poisoning.
According to Bird, the centuries-long coexistence conflict between wolves and humans - especially over territory and livestock - has nearly led to their extinction.
"You're never supposed to shoot a wolf unless you're under extreme threat for personal safety or property," said Bird. "And when you lose a wolf to poaching, it's very likely it could be highly valuable from a genetic perspective."
Bird said genetic diversity has decreased dramatically among the Mexican gray population and a proper recovery plan could help save the wolves from extinction.
He added that 105 gray wolves are known to have been killed unlawfully between 1998 and 2019 following their reintroduction to New Mexico and Arizona.
get more stories like this via email
A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…
Healthcare workers at an Oregon hospital have achieved what they say is a "win" after several strikes in recent months. Nearly 300 workers and …
As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …
If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…
North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, but groups working …
Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …
After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …
Bridgeport is one of six U.S. cities selected for an 18-month project kicking off this month, to create more education and career opportunities for …