Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mexican Wolf Recovery-Screwed Again

This from the Center for Biological Diversity, not exactly a radical left-wing environmental group.

The House Natural Resources Committee heard testimony Wednesday from retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator David Parsons that political interference in management decisions was to blame for the low numbers of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the wild.

At the hearing, entitled “The Danger of Deception: Do Endangered Species Have a Chance?,” Parsons spoke about a “process within a process,” in which a 2005 public comment period on the five-year review of the Mexican wolf reintroduction program was interrupted by two private meetings between senior regional officials of the Fish and Wildlife Service and livestock interests, arranged at the request of Representative Steve Pearce, R-N.M.

After the Pearce meetings the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a conditional moratorium on releases of new wolves into the wild, despite the fact that the wolf population had dropped by 20 percent during the previous year. (The moratorium ultimately did not take effect, because a minimum number of breeding pairs did not exist.)

In addition, the suspect “process within a process” helped persuade the Fish and Wildlife Service to adopt its Mexican wolf control protocol, SOP 13, despite warnings by independent wolf scientists that federal shooting and trapping of wolves should be reduced and not increased in order to comply with the law.

As predicted by the scientists, SOP 13 increased mortality and undercut population growth. It has resulted in the stagnation of the endangered wolf population at around 50 animals. The wolf population was intended to reach over 100 animals by the end of 2006.

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