Wolves in Government Clothing
Witness firsthand accounts from those who are forced to deal with wolves on a daily basis. Its the story of two predators with similar characteristics: wolves and Federal government agencies. The reality is, if we don’t control these predators…they will control us.
New Wolf Plan Has Broad Support
One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.
When you look at the effort to reintroduce the Mexican gray wolf to the Southwest, that definition of insanity certainly applies. Since 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has spearheaded the effort, spending millions of dollars in the process, to bring the Mexican wolf back to the Southwest, with very limited success.
This is why a new proposal, which was developed by four counties and 25 key stakeholders, can break the insanity cycle of mediocre results in the re-introduction effort. The proposal changes everything and, most importantly, has the support of most of the key players.
The proposal will allow the number of wolves to increase from the current goal of not less than 100 animals — a number never reached under the current program — to up to 300 animals. This is the number of wolves that could be supported by the prey base, according to the scientific literature.
And the area where the wolves can live will increase from 4.6 million acres to 41 million acres.
Lastly, the proposal provides habitat connectivity corridors with Mexico. Mexico is the center of Mexican wolf historic range and is of critical importance to the recovery of the species. Opponents say evidence exists the Mexican wolf moved north, but if one is to recover a species whose core habitat is in Mexico, you want to connect to that core.
These groups also are against the plan because they want the wolf numbers and where they can roam to be unfettered. This includes the fringe areas of historic Mexican wolf habitat like the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
One problem is hunters are the ones who pay the bill for all wildlife management. Get rid of hunters and who will pay that bill? Hunters contribute $3 billion per year to wildlife conservation.
If you objectively look at what hunters have accomplished by funding wildlife management since the early settlers of our country decimated our wildlife stocks, our wildlife is doing quite well in the face of incredible pressure from fractured habitat due to highways, shopping malls and other human endeavors. These pressures only confirm the need for sound wildlife management to ensure the survival of all species in shrinking habitat.
It will be interesting to see if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will recognize the new approach offered by Arizona Game and Fish and accept a broad-based stakeholder supported, scientific based plan.