Friday, August 15, 2014

Breaking News: AZGFD responds to wolf editorial

AZGFD responds to wolf editorial

Aug. 15, 2014
Get the facts on Mexican wolf conservation at

On August 4, 2014, the Arizona Republic ran an editorial entitled, “What are wolves supposed to do? Order a pizza?” which inaccurately portrayed the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s motives in the Mexican wolf recovery program. In response, we sent the Republic a letter to the editor and a political cartoon drawn by Department naturalist Randy Babb. Their reply to us was to choose either the letter or the cartoon, and they agreed to allow a 75-word “context statement” to accompany the cartoon.

In today’s (Aug. 15) print edition, the Republic ran the 75-word explanation but edited the cartoon to remove the caption (“Wildlife management— it’s about balance”) at the bottom of the cartoon. We wanted to share with you the original cartoon and letter.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department listens to both those who want no wolves and those who want no limits on wolves, but we always pursue high ground defined by science. It is important that Arizonans understand our position and know the facts about wolf recovery. For the facts, visit:


Below is the cartoon and the original "Letter to the Editor" text that we sent to the Republic:

August 12, 2014


Letters to the Editor
The Arizona Republic
P.O. Box 1950
Phoenix, AZ 85001


A recent Arizona Republic editorial inaccurately portrayed the motives of the Arizona Game and Fish Department in the recovery of the Mexican wolf in Arizona (“What are wolves supposed to do? Order a pizza?” August 4, 2014). Our Department has only one agenda on the Mexican wolf: to help this native subspecies recover to the point where it is in balance with man and nature.

Arizona Game and Fish Department wildlife managers are the backbone of the Mexican wolf recovery field team. They’re in the field at high elevation, braving scorching summers and snowbound winters, performing high-risk activities such as low-level aerial surveys, wolf captures and handling operations. We have taken risks and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in wolf recovery because it is work we believe in.

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has consistently reiterated its support for Mexican wolf conservation, managed in balance with other elements of the ecosystem such as deer, elk and other wildlife populations, and the people who live, work and recreate on the landscape. We’ve attached a drawing rendered by one of our biologists, Randy Babb, to illustrate our belief in the need for balance, and we reiterate our interest in working with all parties to achieve it as part of a successful wolf conservation program.

To see what’s really being done to repatriate the Mexican wolf, read the special Mexican wolf edition of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine (



Larry D. Voyles

View the hard copy letter sent to the Republic.