PEARCE SENDS LETTER TO SECRETARY ZINKE, CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY IN MEXICAN WOLF RECOVERY
Washington, DC (March 10, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce sent a letter to Secretary Zinke of the Department of the Interior calling for a 90 day extension to the comment period for the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Mexican Wolf Recovery Program’s Release and Translocation Proposal. This will give local communities and governments who are directly affected by the program suitable time to provide their input.
“The introduction of the so-called ‘recovery plan’ of the Mexican wolf has been disastrous to the surrounding local communities in New Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recovery plan blatantly disregards the serious concerns of ranchers and farmers whose livelihoods are affected by the program. Now, the Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed another release of wolves without providing a proper comment period to allow local communities time to submit their concerns,” stated Rep. Pearce.
Rep. Pearce continued to state, “it goes without saying the Fish and Wildlife Service’s recovery plan is not effective and does not provide the kind of accountability the people of New Mexico deserve. I hope that Secretary Zinke takes a close look at the flaws of this program and works with states and local governments to develop a new and improved recovery plan that works for those who are most affected.”
In January 2015, FWS listed the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies and dramatically increased the roaming area for the Mexican gray wolves without the input of community members and local governments. The recovery plan admittedly lacked an objective and measurable criteria for the down-listing and delisting of the subspecies of wolves in accordance with the Endangered Species Act.
Last year, the Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General released a scathing report of the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program. The report revealed some serious structural issues with the program as well as disturbing actions taken by FWS staff overseeing the program.
To this day, FWS has continued to utilize the same recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf from the early 1980s, failing to update the plan to include recovery criteria as required by federal law. As a result, this recovery plan is outdated and ineffective – which prompted Arizona and New Mexico to sue.