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Mexican Wolf Conservation
 
Overview

Federal Proposals Regarding Mexican Wolves in Arizona

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has published two proposed rules in the Federal Register affecting Mexican wolf conservation in Arizona and accepted public comment on the proposed rules. The first rule proposes delisting the gray wolf from the federal list of threatened and endangered species but maintaining endangered status for the Mexican wolf. The second rule proposes expansion of the geographic boundaries of the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as modification of the 10(j) rule for managing the experimental Mexican wolf population.

To view more information on the proposals, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at http://fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/PR10jM.cfm.

Additionally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is planning to develop a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed revision to the nonessential experimental population of the Mexican wolf and the implementation of a management plan. The Arizona Game and Fish Department submitted letters to the Service during the scoping period expressing issues and concerns with the Service’s proposed rules, the draft EIS, and comments on issues/items the Service should consider to ensure the EIS addresses the full range of issues associated with Mexican wolf reintroduction and recovery. 

    Recap of Sept. 6, 2013 Commission action

    The Arizona Game and Fish Commission voted unanimously on Sept. 6, 2013 to pass a resolution requesting that the Department of Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hold at least one public meeting in Arizona as part of the scoping hearings on the expansion of Mexican wolf conservation. Click here to view the resolution and the accompanying letter to the federal agencies.

    Recap of Jan. 13, 2012 Commission action

    During the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s nongame activities briefing to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission at the Commission’s Jan. 13, 2012 public meeting, the Commission voted unanimously to amend its policy on the release of Mexican wolves in eastern Arizona. The amendment will consider the replacement of lost wolves on a case-by-case basis. Game and Fish’s director will now have the authority to approve a wolf release in cases where an animal is lost from the population due to an unlawful act. When a wolf is lost to any other cause of mortality, the commission must approve a release. The Commission had previously voted at its December 2011 meeting to oppose any new wolf releases until certain federal planning processes had been completed. The action at this meeting amends that guidance. Click here for more information.

    Recap of Dec. 2, 2011 Commission briefing and actions

    On Dec. 2, 2011, the Arizona Game and Fish Department gave a briefing to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission on the Mexican wolf reintroduction program, asking the Commission to reaffirm current guidance (Oct. 10, 2008) or provide new or additional guidance. Click here for a short recap of the commission actions.

     

    Recap of Dec. 4, 2010 Commission briefing and actions

    On Dec. 4, 2010, the Arizona Game and Fish Department gave a briefing to the Commission on the Mexican wolf reintroduction program, asking to the Commission to reaffirm current guidance (Oct. 10, 2008) or provide new or additional guidance.

    Most notable from the briefing about the program are:

    • the lack of an update to the 1982 Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan,
    • a lapsed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other governmental cooperators and stakeholders including the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, and


    • U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently dismissed the 2003-05 Recovery Team, of which Arizona Game and Fish was a primary partner.  The Fish and Wildlife Service has not yet released the plans for the formulation of a new team or how the members will interface with each other.  Arizona Game and Fish has indicated formally to Fish and Wildlife Service that they must be a part of the Science and Planning part of any new team in the recovery efforts of the Mexican Wolf.

    During the meeting, the Commission and public comments from local governments, sportsmen, livestock operators, and environmentalists have all reiterated support for Mexican gray wolf conservation and many stated the importance for the Arizona Game and Fish Department to be a lead agency in the effort.

    After looking back at 28 years of history of the reintroduction program, the commission discussed that it is both unfortunate, and ironic that successful Mexican wolf conservation may hinge on removing it from the Congressional act intended to help restore it.

    Yet, Congressional involvement maybe necessary to break the regulatory and litigious gridlock that Mexican wolf conservation has endured for many years before the demise of the species in the wild.

    The Commission voted 4-1 “to direct staff to support the position of the federal delisting including our wolf population and welcome the opportunity to take this on as an agency and do it better."

Arizona Game and Fish reconfirms the following points
  • The commission is strongly committed to Mexican wolf conservation and sees the potential for federal delisting as an opportunity to break through the gridlock in Mexican wolf reintroduction that has impeded progress since 2001 due to the nature of the current federal process and the impact upon it of unceasing environmental litigation. The current process is not working and it is time to try a different approach led by state and tribal wildlife management experts.

  • Through this action, the Game and Fish Commission anticipates that the Game and Fish Department will become more heavily involved in planning the future of the species and the day-to-day activities in a more affordable, efficient and effective manner. It is not attempting to reduce its role or remove itself from the conservation of the species.

  • Wildlife conservation through ongoing and never-ending litigation – primarily under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act and Administrative Procedures Act – is ineffective and counter-productive for successful species conservation.

  • Continuous litigation has usurped the role of the U.S. Secretary of Interior and leaves wildlife management decisions to the judiciary. It fosters a litigation-driven bureaucratic process that has driven up the cost of conservation and made Mexican wolf conservation unaffordable for the state, jeopardizing the entire future of the species in Arizona.

  • The Game and Fish Commission believes that Congressional involvement is necessary to break the regulatory and litigious gridlock that Mexican wolf conservation has endured for many years and may be the only means for returning conservation authority from the judiciary to the experts – the natural resources agencies.

  • The Game and Fish Commission believes that federal partnerships have been, and will continue to be, essential to continuing Mexican wolf conservation.

  • The Game and Fish Commission recognizes that it is both unfortunate and ironic that successful Mexican wolf conservation may hinge on removing it from the Congressional act intended to help restore it. While the Endangered Species Act has proven beneficial to a number of species, most notably the bald eagle, in the case of the wolf, it has created an impasse that could lead to the demise of a species in the wild through an ineffective conservation program.

  • The Game and Fish Commission invites all stakeholders to the table who are willing to participate in seeking solutions (and collaboratively funding the effort) that will lead to effective, productive Mexican wolf conservation.

  • The Arizona Game and Fish Department is well positioned to oversee wolf conservation thanks in part to its Commission form of government, which allows the department to be flexible and responsive to public and stakeholder input.

  • Wolves in Arizona will continue to be protected through state statutes, and the Game and Fish Commission has no plans to offer hunting opportunities.
 

December 2010
Commission Meeting Public Records

 

Game & Fish Commission Wolf Discussion audio file [Windows Media, 95mb]
PowerPoint
Presentation
[PDF, 5mb]

 

 





  Documents & News Releases
  • Director's Letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the Department's position on the Science and Planning Subgroup

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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