To: Larry Voyles, Arizona Game and Fish Department Director
Arizona Game and Fish: Stop Undermining Wolf Recovery
To the AZ Game and Fish Commission and Department: With only 110 Mexican gray wolves in the wild, they are still very much in danger of extinction. We, the undersigned, respectfully and urgently request that you:
1. Cease opposing new releases of captive wolves into the wild and instead work to ensure that releases of adult wolves are expedited to improve the genetic health of the wild population;
2. End your advocacy for killing and trapping wolves for preying on elk, going outside of political boundaries, and for livestock conflicts;
3. End your advocacy for keeping the wild population down to 300-325 wolves, a number which has no basis in science but will result in wolves above that number being killed or trapped and removed;
4. Desist in efforts to delay and obstruct recovery planning.
5. Respect the peer reviewed science by recognized experts and stop objecting to new populations of wolves in habitats north of I-40; and
6. Honor and fulfill your public trust obligations by representing the best interests of all of Arizona’s wildlife, including keystone carnivores like wolves, all Arizonans, and visitors to Arizona from all over the world, who want these wolves to thrive.
Why is this important?
Although they were reintroduced to the Southwest in 1998, there are still only 110 Mexican gray wolves in the wild, making them one of the world's most endangered wolves. They suffer from inbreeding and from ongoing persecution.
The AZ Game and Fish Commission has advocated for killing wolves, even whole families, accused of depredating on livestock. It has sent letters to Congress advocating that Mexican gray wolves be stripped of their Endangered Species Act Protections. And it has done everything it can to stop the release of new adult wolves from captivity, desperately needed to boost the genetic health of the wild lobo population.
Recently, the Commission voted to keep genetically valuable wolves in captivity instead of allowing their release into the wild where they are needed and belong. It bullied the US Fish and Wildlife Service into capping the number of endangered Mexican gray wolves allowed to live in the wild at only 325, with no basis in science or recovery planning, to trap any lobos who travel to key habitats north of I-40, and to make it easier to kill and remove these highly endangered wolves.
We can't stand by while these beautiful, intelligent, extremely rare wolves are threatened with a second extinction in the wild.