Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mohave County renews opposition to federal wolf plan

Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014
KINGMAN — The county supervisors will again voice their objection Tuesday to a federal plan to reintroduce the wolf in Mohave County.
District 1 Sup. Gary Watson of Kingman is asking the board to object to a draft of the Environmental Impact Statement. The supervisors voted in November to send a letter stating their opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s plan to reintroduce the Mexican wolf into Arizona and Mohave County south of Interstate 40. There are about 85 Mexican gray wolves in the wild in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.
Watson said the Fish and Wildlife Service did not hold public hearings in Arizona. Mohave County also does not contain the food supply for the wolf including available deer and elk. Watson also said there is insufficient evidence that Mohave County was even in the Mexican wolf’s historical habitat.
Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter Director Sandy Bahr said the Fish and Wildlife Service should allow wolves to roam into the greater Grand Canyon area and not constrain the wolf within the two states. The USFWS also should not expand provisions that allow wolves to be removed or killed to avoid conflicts with cattle, Bahr said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mexican gray wolves have not killed anyone in North America. However, cows kill an average of 22 people each year by crushing or stomping a person.

Wolves also kill only 0.1 percent of cattle compared to dogs which cause 0.8 percent of cattle deaths. The leading cause of cattle deaths are respiratory failure at 22 percent and digestive problems at 14 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, weather causes 8.6 percent of cattle deaths while theft causes 2 percent.

Watson is also asking the board to join in a lawsuit with American Stewards of Liberty against the Fish and Wildlife Service. The lawsuit aims to take the Hualapai Mexican vole off the federal endangered list. The vole is a mouse-size rodent that was considered endangered in 1987. The vole is thought to live only in the Hualapai Mountains and possibly in the Music Mountains. American Stewards of Liberty of Texas is an organization that protects private properties by advocating the removal of species from the federal endangered list.

Bahr said the Endangered Species Act is designed to protect all species, big and small, and prevent their extinction and protect the county’s habitat and plants and animals that depend on it.
The board of supervisors will meet at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the county administration building, 700 W. Beale St. in Kingman.

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