Archive for the ‘mexican wolf’ Tag

Steller: Lone wolf deserves chance to meet others   3 comments

From:  tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star

Grand Canyon wolf

Arizona Game and Fish Deprtment

November 27, 2014 6:00 pm  • 

She must be lonely, spending Thanksgiving weekend wandering the Grand Canyon’s North Rim all on her own.

She’s a fertile, female wolf, and finding a mate is likely the force that drove her southward from her home in the northern Rocky Mountains.

This is how Ed Bangs, a former federal wolf expert in that region, explained her likely motivation: “It’s looking for love,” he told The Associated Press. “It leaves the core population and doesn’t know the love of its life is going to be right over the next hill, so it just keeps traveling.”

If only there were some wolves nearby …

Of course, there are 83 of them — about 200 miles southeast in the White Mountains and adjacent areas of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. All that stands between her and them is the Grand Canyon and our wildlife bureaucracy.

This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released documents that spell out some of the details of how they propose to manage the reintroduced Mexican gray wolves of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. That’s where efforts to reintroduce endangered Mexican gray wolves began in 1998 and foundered for more than a decade before the population began to grow again over the last few years.

The documents show that the service plans to expand the areas in which the wolves are allowed to wander — a welcome change from the strict boundaries and behavioral rules that Arizona Game and Fish enforced during the first decade-plus of the effort. The newly opened areas would include about half of Arizona, including all of the southeastern quadrant, as well as about a third of New Mexico, mostly in the southwestern part of that state.

But the service sets a strict northern boundary for the Mexican gray wolves at Interstate 40. So even if the expanded range were already in effect now, wildlife managers would still prevent wolves from roaming northwest toward the Grand Canyon, cutting the distance between them and this potential new pack member and mate. Wolves north of that line could be picked up and returned or even killed if necessary.

That’s a shame, because this female wolf is from a different subspecies of gray wolves. Her genes, introduced to the semi-inbred population in the Blue Range, would increase their genetic diversity and vitality considerably. It’s also a shame because it puts our abstract rules and boundaries on what could be a natural flow.

“Wolf geneticists over the last decade have been documenting that there was genetically a gradient from the Mexican gray wolf to the northern Rockies wolves,” conservation biologistCarlos Carroll told me.

In other words, there wasn’t a clear genetic distinction between Mexican gray wolves in the south and northern gray wolves, but rather a transition zone between, say, Arizona and Wyoming, where the wolves were less and less Mexican the farther north they were found.

“That old paradigm of drawing hard lines on a map to divide subspecies — that was typical of naturalists 100 years ago,” said Carroll, of the Klamath Center for Conservation Research.

He was a member of the group of scientists contributing to the Mexican gray wolf recovery team up until last year and was lead author of a paper on wolf genetics in the journal Conservation Biology published last year. Among its conclusions: “long-term prospects for recovery of gray wolves in the western U.S. may hinge on wolves being able to successfully disperse between widely separated populations.”

The paper also points to the Grand Canyon area, all of which is north of Interstate 40, as one of the most suitable areas for additional Mexican gray wolf populations.

Arizona Game and Fish, which helped mold this latest Fish and Wildlife Service proposal, argues there is reason to have a northern boundary.

In short, the idea is that “we want Mexican wolves where Mexican wolves were,” explained Jim DeVos, the assistant director of Arizona Game and Fish overseeing wildlife.

The scientific research describes the wolves as largely having been a creature of Southeastern Arizona, as well as adjacent New Mexico and Mexico, he said. But it would be difficult to draw a line at, say, Mount Ord in the White Mountains and say no wolves should go north of there.

I-40 “is north of the historic range and a logical demarcation for Mexican wolves,” DeVos said. “Why go north when the suitable habitat goes south?”

My question is: Why demarcate the territory at all? Having reintroduced these animals, why not let them do what they obviously do naturally — roam, run into each other, mate and create their own packs and populations?

Related document:  http://tucson.com/study-of-wolf-habitat-genetics/pdf_94d895ca-f733-5bde-904f-c756dfefef40.html#.VHsVdsYNFJk.email

 

 

Tucson Premiere of Wolf Film “OR7: The Journey” Set for Dec. 3   3 comments

From:  Newsletter by Center for Biological Diversity

Contact: Julie Ragland, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 623-5252
Karen Olch, event organizer, (541) 344-1230

Documentary About Famous Wandering Wolf to Be Screened at Loft Cinema

TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity on Dec. 3 is hosting the Tucson premiere of the documentary “OR7: The Journey,” an inspiring film about the famous wolf who wandered hundreds of miles from northeast Oregon to become the first documented wolf in California in more than 80 years.

OR-7 Film PosterThe screening will be held at The Loft Cinema at 3233 E. Speedway in Tucson at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.50 and are available through The Loft Cinema’s website. There is limited seating, and the show is expected to sell out.

Wolves were once common along the West Coast but were driven out in the late 1800s and early 1900s after decades of extermination programs. Wolves began returning to Washington and Oregon after wolves were reintroduced to central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s.

Today Oregon is once again home to a fragile, recovering population of gray wolves. All of its wolves were confined to the northeast corner of the state until one male left his pack in 2011 and made history by becoming the first documented wolf west of the Cascades since 1947, and the first in California in nearly a century. In the process he inspired people around the world and has become an ambassador for recovering native wildlife. The wolf was dubbed OR-7 by biologists and was given the name “Journey” by schoolchildren in a naming contest.

“OR7: The Journey” tells the story not just of this individual wolf, but also of his species and its struggle to find acceptance, overcome old hostilities, and settle new homes in the West. The tale is particularly timely in Arizona with last month’s news of a gray wolf spotted on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Come celebrate wolf recovery, wildlife and OR-7’s epic journey. A Q&A will follow the movie with wolf advocates to discuss OR-7 and the future of wolves in the West.

What: Documentary film “OR7: The Journey” followed by a Q&A with wolf advocates from the Center for Biological Diversity
Where: The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Tucson, (520) 795-0844
When: Wednesday, Dec. 3 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Tickets: $10.50 at The Loft Cinema box office or online athttps://loftcinema.com/film/or7-the-journey/
More info: Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 623-5252
More film info: http://www.or7themovie.com

 

To protect wolves’ future is to protect our future   6 comments

By
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 12:02 am

My family lives in Mexican gray wolf country along the banks of the upper Gila River in the Cliff-Gila Valley, three miles from the southern edge of the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico. We live simply, on a small milk-goat farm, growing most of our own food and selling, what we can, to our neighbors.

Our orchards and gardens are filled with free-ranging chickens, turkeys and ducks; and our hearts are filled with gratitude both for the lives we lead and the larger complex of life that surrounds and sustains us.

My son, Hawk, is home-schooled and we spend a lot of time outdoors.

When Hawk was 4, we went camping in the Gila wilderness. We got lucky.

Lying in our sleeping bags after dark, we both heard our first wolf.

“What’s that mama?” he asked, a little nervously.

“That’s life,” I thought. “That is life howling at the moon at the cutting edge of time. That, my dear child, is the opposite of nothingness. That is the antithesis of death. That is the deep past and the unknowable future held together by muscle and sinew and desire.”

“It’s a wolf,” I finally said, “and you are very lucky to hear one.”

“But aren’t you afraid,” he asked?

“No,” I said. “I’m not afraid of the wolf, or of mountain lions, or bears, or lightning, or poison ivy. But what I am afraid of is that the wolf that we just heard could be shot. I’m afraid that I will never hear that sound again. I’m afraid that the rivers will be dammed and the soil will be lost and that too many species of birds will disappear forever.

“I’m afraid that my neighbor’s hearts are too small. I’m afraid that most people have forgotten who and what they are. I’m afraid that you will grow up without knowing beauty or wonder.”

Well, OK, maybe I didn’t say all that, but he got the message.

He’s not afraid of wolves. Sweet boy, at 10 years old, he’s not even afraid of the future – at least not yet.

“The great terror of our age,” wrote Loren Eiseley, “is our own conception of ourselves.” Yes, I care about wolves, but I care about my son even more, and I want him to know that the human heart is large, that our species is special because we get to choose who and what we are, that narrow self-interest, hatred and fear doesn’t have to define the human character, that the Endangered Species Act is not only about recovering the Mexican gray wolf, it’s also about recovering ourselves.

I understand that it’s hard sometimes to give the wolf or other listed species a free pass, especially when livelihoods are believed to be at stake.

But for me, the Endangered Species Act remains a sacred trust between my family and my government guaranteeing us that the diversity of life contained within our national boundaries will not be diminished by human agency.

The protections that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could and should and must provide the Mexican gray wolf on its long road to full recovery is the people’s business. It’s my business.

They are working for me, and for Hawk, and for millions of other Americans who not only want a future filled with wolf song, but demand it under the law.

The Endangered Species Act is not the jack boot of big government. The Endangered Species Act is me. The jack boots are mine. I’m one who wants the world to stay alive.

I want Hawk to know beauty and wonder.

I am not afraid of wolves. But I am so very afraid of a future without them.

Going to the wolves: Strong views aired on expanding wolf recovery area in Arizona – Arizona Range News: News   1 comment

Going to the wolves: Strong views aired on expanding wolf recovery area in Arizona – Arizona Range News: News.

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 12:00 pm

BISBEE — Wolves. Just mention the word and depending on how one views predatory American animals, there are bound to be those who are in awe of the stamina, power and grace of the animal who once roamed the West in numbers and those who are fearful of its agile and deadly ability to kill.

As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to open protected areas in New Mexico and Arizona for the reintroduction of the smaller Mexican Wolf, an uproar of opposition has been raised by ranchers who cannot afford to lose stock and who fear for their children and pets.

That was obvious as the Cochise County Board of Supervisors invited the public to make official comments on the proposal during Tuesday’s meeting. Though FWS is considering the release in the county above Interstate 10, three of the four of the scheduled public hearings are not even in Arizona. The only one is scheduled in Phoenix on a date yet to be determined, said Kim Mulhern, hydrologist and wildlife consultant for the county. That was the reason the Supervisors decided to hold a public hearing so that the voices of the county could be heard.

Mulhern noted the FWS proposed de-listing of the Gray Wolf as an endangered species, but was in the process of listing the Mexican Wolf, a smaller version of the gray, as endangered.

FWS is proposing to expand the Mexican wolf’s protected areas on state and federal public lands, Mulhern explained. The proposed rule would allow releases into all areas of central Arizona north of I-10. The Service is also considering an option that is currently not in the proposed rule to expand the geographic boundaries for the Mexican wolf down to the US/Mexico border in Arizona and New Mexico, affecting all areas of the county.

The basic proposed rule, if the Mexican Wolf is listed as endangered, would permit a direct release from captivity to the wild throughout the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, which runs through the central part of New Mexico from its border with Texas to the Arizona border with California, explained Mulhern. FWS expects the Mexican wolves, a sub-species of the gray wolf, to disperse naturally from the Blue Range into the expanded protection area on both federal and state lands, as well as some private land holdings.

Mary Darling, an environmental consultant, said Mexico had released some of these wolves into remote areas of the country about 20 miles south of Douglas, and there was a possibility of wolves making their ways north into the U.S. and up the San Bernardino Valley and the Chiricahua Mountains. If the FWS does re-list the Mexican as endangered, then those who cross the border would be considered protected and could not be harmed. It also would  effect grazing leases ranchers may have with federal and state lands.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been concerned in recent years about the decreases in deer and antelope populations, so there is a conflict regarding the availability of sufficient large prey for all of the current predators in the area, noted Mulhern. With the addition of Mexican wolves, lack of prey would likely cause them to resort to preying on livestock, pets, and other non-wild prey.

Sherry Barrett, FWS Mexican wolf coordinator, faced a hostile crowd at the hearing, yet moved forward with her presentation on the proposed reintroduction of the endangered species.

“I recognize that ranchers are not in favor of the reintroduction of the wolf,” Barrett added. “However, in polls, people want to see the wolves reestablished in their former environments, even though for most, the wolves would not be in their backyards.”

 It is expected that these wolves would prefer smaller game such as javelina or deer. However, depending on the numbers of prey animals, it is possible for these wolves to take down stock and impact the ranching economy.

In cases of proven predations, FWS could allow the killing of the wolf by authorized personnel, said Barrett.

In the standing-room only meeting room, rancher after rancher came forward to express their confusion and dissatisfaction with the decision to incorporate any part of Cochise County into the reintroduction areas. So did state Sen. Gail Griffin.

Gilbert Reeves, Huachuca City, said he was not a rancher, but could relate to their concerns. He voiced concern for his great-grandchild who could become a target for wolves.

“We don’t need this,” Reeves stated. “Can we eat these wolves? They’re no good for anything. I don’t see why we even have them here. I think the American public rolls over and is silent too often. I’ve rolled over for my last time. It’s time to stand up and fight, people … Let’s put a stop to all this foolishness … Shame on the federal government. They’re here to help us.”

Reeves claimed that shelters had to be constructed in New Mexico so that children waiting for school buses would be safe from wolves.

Steven Smith, Elfrida, stated that the federal government was taking away ranchers’ ability to manage their livestock “in a profitable manner,” which “infringes on our pursuit of happiness,” and “serves no useful purpose for our county or residents.”

Only three people were in favor of the reintroduction project Liza Weissler, Bob Wick and Bob Weissler with the Friends of the San Pedro.

Wick said he thought that this corner of Arizona was blessed in that there was such a rich diversity of wildlife, something he did not have growing up in Ohio. He suggested that the reintroduction of the Mexican wolf would add to the tourism industry as people would want to come and watch the wolf packs. He also told the ranchers that he was “disappointed” that they were not reimbursed for stock they lost to predators.

Bob Weissler reasoned that if Mexican wolves did cross the border, they would probably move on because there was not enough prey. Additionally, the Defenders of Wildlife have a fund for compensation of stock that have been proven to be killed by wolves. When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone Park, for example, the coyote population that had been preying on smaller animals plummeted and those species came back. The elk herds became more robust as the old and sick were taken down by the wolf packs.

“We’re interested in putting predator/prey balance back into the wilderness and our wild areas because there are unforeseen indirect impacts,” Bob Weissler stated.

All the comments received through the public hearing will be forwarded to the FWS by the supervisors so that Cochise County residents will have a voice in the process. The supervisors approved a letter to FWS earlier in the meeting stating that they were against any wolves being introduced into the county.

Mexican Wolf Recovery Area

Gray Wolves are Recovered; Next Up, the Mexican Wolf   3 comments

Gray Wolves are Recovered; Next Up, the Mexican Wolf

Posted At : June 7, 2013 10:06 AM | Posted By : Trott, Matthew E
Related Categories: Gray_wolfEndangered Species Actplains bisondirector_blogMexican wolfWolves

 

wolfWe are proposing to remove gray wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the United States and Mexico. Photo by Gary Kramer/USFWS

 

As many of you probably know, my dad had a great, 37-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and he describes the outfit as a collection of people who get things done — doers.  Nowhere is that trait more proudly displayed than in our four decade effort to restore the gray wolf to the American landscape, bringing the species back from extirpation and exile from the contiguous United States.

I’m the 16th Director of the Service. It was the 10th, John Turner, a Wyoming rancher and outfitter, appointed by a Republican President, who signed the record of decision that set in motion this miraculous reintroduction and recovery. It’s never been easy. We’ve had critics, fair and unfair. We’ve had great partners. Sometimes they have been one in the same. But this organization and its people have been constant. Steadfast. Committed. Professional. Determined. Now add successful!

More information on the wolf recovery

This great predator again roams the range, ridges and remote spaces of the Northern Rocky Mountains and the Western Great Lakes in one of the spectacular successes of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  These recovered populations are not just being tolerated, but are expanding under professional management by our state partners.

Today, for one reason, and one reason only, we are proposing to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the United States and Mexico — they are no longer in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.

 

wolf

National Elk Refuge Biologist Eric Cole affixes a collar on a male black wolf pup. We have been working on gray wolf recovery for decades. Photo by Lori Iverson/USFWS

Due to our steadfast commitment, gray wolves in the Lower 48 now represent a 400-mile southern range extension of a vast contiguous wolf population that numbers more than 12,000 wolves in western Canada and about 65,000 wolves across all of Canada and Alaska. Canadian and U.S. wolves interact and move freely between the two nations.

Of course, the gray wolf is not everywhere it once was, nor can it be; think Denver, or Minneapolis, or Salt Lake City, or even the now grain- and livestock-dominated American Plains. It’s not everywhere it can be, but our work has created the potential that it may be one day. 

One thing, though, is certain: It is no longer endangered or threatened with extinction.  The ESA has done its job. Broader restoration of wolves is now possible. Indeed, it is likely. As we propose to remove ESA protections, states like Washington and Oregon are managing expanding populations under protective state laws.

And as in almost every aspect of our work, there is vigorous debate.  Can a species be considered “recovered” if it exists in only a portion of its former range, or if significant habitat is yet unoccupied?  Our answer is “yes” and we don’t need to look far for other examples.

bison

Bison on the National Bison Range in Montana. Photo by USFWS

Consider the plains bison, another magnificent, iconic animal that once roamed and ruled North American plains, coast to coast. We aren’t certain how many, but possibly 75 million. Today, there are about half a million, and they inhabit a fraction of their historical range.

But are they threatened or endangered?  No.  And in 2011, we denied a petition to give the bison Endangered Species Act protection. Wild populations are secure and growing. It doesn’t mean we don’t care about bison; it means they do not need the protections of the ESA.

Like the bison, the gray wolf no longer needs those protections.

Some say we’re abandoning wolf recovery before it is complete. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, we’re proposing to hand over the management of these keystone predators to the professionals at the state and tribal wildlife agencies. We’ve been working hand-in-glove with these folks to recover the gray wolf. Their skill helped bring gray wolves back, and now they’ll work to keep wolves as a part of the landscape for future generations.

I’ve always liked the analogy of the ESA as biodiversity’s emergency room.  We are given patient species that need intensive care.  We stabilize them; we get them through recovery.  Then we hand them to other providers who will ensure they get the long-term care that they need and deserve.

We have brought back this great icon of the American wilderness.  And as we face today’s seemingly insurmountable challenges, today’s critical voices, today’s political minefields, let this success be a reminder of what we can accomplish.  We can work conservation miracles, because we have.  The gray wolf is proof.

Mexican wolf

our 2012 count showed a record number of Mexican wolves in the wild. Photo by Jim Clark/USFWS

Now it’s time for us to focus our limited resources on Mexican wolf recovery and on other species that are immediately threatened with extinction.  

That is why we also proposed today to continue federal protection and expand recovery efforts for the Mexican wolf, by designating it as an endangered subspecies under the ESA and proposing modifications to the regulations governing the existing nonessential experimental population.

We have received good news on the Mexican wolf recently – the 2012 population count showed a record high number of Mexican wolves in the wild.  We have a long way to go, but we are seeing success, and we will apply the same steadfast commitment, the same dedication and the same professionalism that has been the hallmark of our gray wolf success.

By employing the full protections of the ESA for the Mexican wolf, I am confident that one day we’ll be celebrating their full recovery just like we are, today, with the gray wolf.

**Disclaimer: All the views portrayed in the article above are those of employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. **

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