Conservationists say plan offers a path to extinction, not recovery
PHOENIX, Arizona – After reviewing key sections of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Draft Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, published earlier today, the habitat protection group Wildlands Network says the plan fails to adequately consider or incorporate the best available science, rendering it insufficient to ensure Mexican wolf recovery.
“Countless attempts have been made by conservationists, including wolf experts and scientists, to ensure the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service drafted a meaningful recovery plan,” said Kim Crumbo, conservation director for Wildlands Network. “But once again we’re seeing fundamental flaws that will undermine recovery, and possibly even long-term survival, of Mexican wolves.”
Within the last 20 years, USFWS has convened numerous advisory teams of experts to provide scientifically defensible recovery strategies for the Mexican wolf, but advice and guidance from these teams has routinely been discarded and ignored, says Crumbo. In addition, he notes that the states inappropriately, if not illegally, pressured the USFWS behind closed doors to exclude the Grand Canyon ecoregion and southern Colorado from the plan — habitat regions considered by experts to be essential for the full recovery of the “Lobo.” Lack of planned reintroductions within the wolf’s recovery zone and reliance on other unproven scientific data were also cited as chief problems inherent in the new recovery plan.
The recovery plan released today was completed by USFWS as part of a settlement agreement with conservation groups and numerous western states completed in 2016. The agreement was reached after numerous parties filed suit in federal court alleging the USFWS had failed to meet its obligations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to draft a recovery plan in a timely manner.
Crumbo and Wildlands Network say they are committed to ensuring the success of the binational effort to recover Mexican wolves across their historic range in northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S., with support and assistance from the USFWS and partnerships between conservationists in the U.S. and Mexico.
“The USFWS and other state agencies have a legal obligation to provide leadership for Mexican wolf recovery efforts and we believe the American people will not allow the agency to evade that legal responsibility,” said Crumbo.
According to the latest population data provided by USFWS, there are approximately 100 Mexican wolves remaining in the wild, making it one of the most endangered species on the planet.
The mission of Wildlands Network is to reconnect, restore, and rewild North America so that the diversity of life can thrive. We envision a world where nature is unbroken, and where humans co-exist in harmony with the land and its wild inhabitants.
Kim Crumbo: 928-606-5850, firstname.lastname@example.org