Friday, June 10, 2016

Conservationists intervene on behalf of Gray Wolf reintroduction efforts

Sun-News Reports,

SILVER CITY — Defenders of Wildlife, the Center of Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in federal court Monday, arguing that the state of New Mexico had no authority to block the release of Mexican gray wolf adults and pups into the wild.

On May 20, 2016, New Mexico sued the Service for releasing wolf pups, which are critical to Mexican gray wolf recovery. New Mexico’s lawsuit aims to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recapture the released pups and return them to captivity and to ban future releases.

“All wolf releases from captivity are mission critical to the recovery of the most endangered gray wolf in the world,” said Eva Sargent, senior Southwest representative for Defenders of Wildlife. “New Mexico’s politically-motivated lawsuit is a meritless, obstructionist attempt to usurp the Service’s authority in endangered species recovery, as provided for in the Endangered Species Act, our nation’s most important wildlife conservation law. We won’t stand for it. We need more wolves, less politics.”

“The two captive-born pups now growing up as part of the Sheepherders Baseball Park Pack in the Gila National Forest embody the hope to diversify the Mexican wolf gene pool and save their kind from extinction,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Removing these pups would be cruel and would contribute to an ongoing decline in wolf numbers and genetic diversity.”

“Obstructing the release of more lobos — one of the most endangered mammals in the United States — is a crime against nature,” said John Horning, executive director for WildEarth Guardians. “We’re intervening in this baseless lawsuit to stop New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s relentless assault against wolves and ensure that people will have the opportunity to experience wolves in our beautiful state.”

“America's first designated wilderness area deserves a balanced ecosystem with healthy populations of animals at every level of the food chain,” said Judy Calman, staff attorney for New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “Mexican wolves are a keystone species in the Gila, and the Fish and Wildlife Service's ability to release them is critical to their recovery and to the management of the wilderness area as a whole. Politics should not be allowed to override science here.”

 source