As I understand things, a bill that is planned to go before the U.S. House of Representatives that would effectively remove gray wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan, Wyoming and Minnesota from protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), is being crafted as I write. According to some sources, once that bill is ready it will be presented to the House.
There now appears to be a movement underway in Arizona and New Mexico where groups seeking control of wolves in the Southwest want their Congressional representatives to get in on the action and get Mexican wolves in those states included on this bill.
Below is a copy of a letter sent to Rep. Steve Pearce from the Catron County Commission seeking action.
RE: Addition of “Mexican Gray Wolf” to be included with the “Gray Wolf’s” removal from the Endangered Species List Congressman Pearce,
The Catron County Commission requests that you add the “Mexican Gray Wolf” (Canis Lupus Baileyi) into the legislation U.S. Representative Reed Ribble, R-Wis. is preparing to remove the “Gray Wolf” off the Endangered Species List in four States.
U.S. Representative Ribble is leading the effort and the co-sponsors include U.S. Representatives Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Dan Benishek, R-Mich., and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.
There has already been severe collateral damage to the citizens of Catron County, County Government and the State of New Mexico in recovery of Mexican Gray Wolves on settled landscapes by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (See attachment A1 Dr. Geist)
Now, with the new 10j rule, Mexican Wolf Recovery will be expanded up to I-40 (eventually beyond) in New Mexico-Arizona and South to the Mexican border. This expansion will take in vast settled landscapes and will have major negative effects on the citizens, pets, businesses, livestock, and wildlife.
All the Mexican wolves that have been released into the Gila Wilderness have moved and gone into areas of human activity. The last wolf pack, the Coronado Pack was released last July, 2014 into the Gila Wilderness. The wolves left the Wilderness recently, entered private property attacking and injuring two dogs. The wolves were hazed back into the Gila Wilderness by the USFWS and the chance of them remaining is questionable.
Congressman Pearce, by taking the Mexican Wolf off the Endangered Species List it will save rural families from losing their homes, businesses and private property rights.
Attached are documents to show the negative effects and collateral damage to achieve Mexican Wolf Recovery on settled landscapes .
Catron County Commission Chair
Dr. Geist addresses the issue of wolf recovery on settled landscapes
Wolves cannot be kept in settled landscapes, because of the impossibility of keeping wolves and dogs apart, and the destruction of the wolf genome by creeping hybridization. While I whole-heatedly agree that there should be no keeping of wolves and wolf hybrids as pets, the sheer size of the “wolf-dog” industry as well as past releases of wolf hybrids will insure further erosion of the genome of free-ranging wolves. Secondly, how is officialdom to know of wolf hybrids unless wolf numbers are strictly and closely regulated so that plenty of specimens are available for testing. Thirdly, from my experience identifying wolves or dogs from photos sent my way I have serious doubts that European wolf specialists can currently distinguish wolf from dog. Unless limits are set early to wolf numbers – and I see no hint of that – wolf populations will expand to destroy the populations of deer and turn to livestock and humans.
Do the authors of this manifesto really think that they can significantly keep wolves and dogs apart by minimizing the number of free-ranging dogs? Even if they have some success in doing so, are they not aware that lone wolves themselves seek out dogs? Do they really think that lone wolf females in heat will desist from visiting suburbs and farms looking for a mate? Do they think that chained farm dogs will not copulate with a female wolf in heat at night? Has nobody had the experience of holding a young very large male dog in training while they come in contact with am estrus female canid? I had a Bouvier de Flandre on the leash while we came across a small wolf track in the snow – and the Bouvier went wild! He then weighed only about a hundred pounds. I had my hands full! An amorous male wolf threatened my wife when he approached an estrus hunting dog in an enclosure. No neighborhood male dog had been that bold! In short, given wolves with a desire to mate and they will intrude deep into human habitation. There is no way to effectively segregate wolves from dogs in settled landscapes. Moreover, as this is written, there is now way to protect wildlife from marauding packs of dogs either.
As I have said before, all efforts to make wolves compatible with settle landscapes are a waste of time and energy. All marauding canids in settle landscape need to be removed. This raises the question of how to conserve wolves as a species. What we know for certain is that they need to be kept away from people and dogs. In the first instance that means that wolves and other large predators need to be kept where the public has no entry. And such areas need to be large. The very first step is to negotiate internationally for keeping large predators on military and atomic reserves. I doubt that national parks are suitable because the tourist lobby will balk. Secondly, means and ways need to be found to control closely wolf populations in such reserves to insure that the predators do not run out of prey, and leave the reserves for settled landscapes. Well-fed wolves will cause the least problems. Severe trapping and predator control in 20th century North America kept wolves out of settled landscapes, eliminated agricultural losses and disease transmission, retained their genetic integrity, while attacks on humans were unheard of.
Wolf conservation as proposed here (i.e. Europe) is not serious.
Sincerely, Val Geist
Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science