One thing I appreciate about Colorado is how people actually care about and desire to protect the wilderness. As a volunteer at Mission: Wolf and a wolf advocate, I wear many wolf T-shirts. Usually, at least one person starts a conversation with me. Most people either favor wolves or want to know more. As such, I think the community would like to know about some of the issues facing wolves. Presently, the Mexican gray wolf (Canus lupus baileyi) is in a more precarious position than usual, and I'd like to speak on behalf of this endangered sub species of gray wolf.
It has been 38 years since the lobo, as Mexican wolves are also called, was placed under protection of the Endangered Species Act. However, the initial recovery goal of a wild lobo population numbering at least 100 has never been met. Today only 83 Mexican gray wolves live in the wild. Genetic diversity and poaching are critical problems. Despite this the population is listed as “non-essential” which means they do not get as many federal protections as an “essential” population.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) is the agency responsible for recovery efforts, and a new recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves is being proposed. While this proposal expands the roaming range for the wolf population, it still falls short of what expert scientists recommend. Additionally, the proposal includes additional the criteria under which lobos can be killed to protect human interests. It also fails to change their status to “essential.”
USFWS is holding two public hearings in the southwest where they will be accepting comments from anyone who has an opinion on the proposal. The dates are 6-9 p.m.: Aug. 11, in Pinetop, Ariz. and August 13, in Truth or Consequences, N.M.
Visit www.mexicanwolves.org for more information.