August 25, 2019

Thoughts on Albuquerque, N.M. Wolf Hearing

A Guest Post by Laura Schneberger: (with permission)

Here are my thoughts after listening to the FWS [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] and wolf advocates the other night[at Albuquerque, NM hearing]. I know I haven’t been around this year much but rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated. I am still here still paying attention and still have not been wrong yet.

Wolf advocates want 3 separate populations of Mexican wolves in the newly defined recovery area that will be expanded after this comment period. They also want the animals reclassified to “essential”, which would effectively mean full ESA [Endangered Species Act] status and NO take. They [wolf advocates] are arguing for massive expansion of the northern boundary beyond I-40, and above the Grand Canyon, into Utah and Colorado, in the hopes that their consolation prize will be all of AZ and NM and expanded essential populations there. It’s the old bait and switch.

Keep in mind this strategy is due to the fact that Utah and Colorado will fuss and fight tooth and nail to keep any new program out of their area and end up, by default, supporting those advocacy efforts to just keep them down here; the same way people inside and outside the current boundary [areas] end up fighting each other rather than consolidating and dealing with the real problem. This is deliberate manipulation of our positions and pitting us against each other and we seem to succumb to it every time with our NIMBY attitudes allowing the agencies and extremists to get further and further by default. NIMBY will not work at this point due to what I will outline below.

Currently, FWS are claiming that under the new rule, they will only want to do direct releases into the current BRWRA and they only want an additional 25 wolves for the entire recovery area and will magnanimously only allow natural dispersal into the entire recovery area which will change soon to Mexico border to I-40 and Eastern NM to Western AZ.

I hope everyone will realize how important the history of this program is when I say, last time they changed their minds about releases and more wolves on the ground was a year or so into implementation of the 1998 rule. Then, they simply did a backdoor supplemental EA [environmental assessment or environmental impact statement] and identified areas for releases directly in NM. I implore you, do not for one minute think that a year or so after the new rule implementation, or maybe even immediately after re-listing, depending on what criteria they choose for this wolf, that there will not be a supplemental EA identifying the potential for more wolves in AZ and NM and sites that meet their criteria, exactly as they did back then. These will be located throughout the recovery area, Mexico border to I-40, and eastern NM to western AZ.

Here is more of my reasoning, historically based. It is not normal to have a big captive breeding program. Several years ago FWS were desperately scrambling for more room in the zoos and other cooperator breeders, like Turners and California wolf center. They even talked of euthanizing wolves if necessary since they were breeding so many and could not do further releases in AZ and NM. (They now have been maintaining over 300 genetically redundant wolves in the breeding program deliberately bred so there will be excess wolves ready for release. This has been going on for the past 5 -7 years) Don’t believe me? I was there when those meetings took place and even Jamie Rappaport Clark agrees with me. http://www.defendersblog.org/2013/03/mexican-gray-wolves-15th-anniversary/

These excess captive wolves ready for release right now, do not include the wolves used as breeders that are not genetically redundant (the real captive breeding population which they also maintain). On a side note, there will never, ever be a scientifically valid, extinction in the wild because all those wild wolves are genetically redundant. Only the loss of those used as breeders can render the population as extinct. Using the extinction argument is simply a media ploy, thinly veiled, to gain sympathy for the animal and support for the perceived absolute necessity of the expansion.

Now the discussion should be around genetics. A self-sustaining wolf population is not 125 animals, it is the legal requirement and it is closer to those numbers raised by almost every wolf advocate involved. Depending on what will occur during delisting and re-listing of the Mexican wolf and how they will choose to relist it, there are several scenarios. None of which will come to pass without some kind of genetic rescue. In a nutshell if they are listed as full endangered (essential) rather than “experimental non essential”, as they are now, critical habitat will be identified and land uses will be changed and the potential exists for people to be forced off the land and other economic businesses will be curtailed in whatever areas are deemed suitable habitat. (are we getting a clue now where all those northern program biologists will be employed and what they will be doing?)

But if they stay “experimental non essential” those genetically redundant animals will still need genetic rescue due to serious inbreeding repression. It may even be legal to pursue that by allowing northern gray wolves to be part of the breeding program or to just allow bisecting populations from the northern end of the Mexican wolf recovery area and southern ends of the gray wolf area. Paper on genetic rescue and the Mexican wolf. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17609180

Just some thoughts I am having after listening to all the pseudoscience at the hearing the other night, and reading through documents available. Any further ideas anyone else gleaned from the presentation comments or federal register? I am trying to organize my thoughts and once again come up with what I think are strategies to deal with our lack of organization on the issue.

Laura Schneberger

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Tale of Two Wolf Hearings

This is a newsletter sent out to members of Big Game Forever:

Last night’s wolf hearing in Albuquerque and Tuesday night’s wolf hearing in Denver could not have been more different. The Denver wolf hearing was dominated by animal rights activists. The Albuquerque meeting was dominated by ranchers, hunters, county officials, conservation districts. Big Game Forever was well represented at both hearings.
Reminder on Upcoming Hearings
A quick reminder: The final wolf-delisting hearings will be held in Sacramento California tonight and Pinetop Arizona on December 3rd. More information on these hearings can be found at: http://www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery/

Denver Wolf-Delisting Hearing
To use a sports analogy, the Denver hearing had the feeling of an away game. This was not a huge surprise given the urban setting for the hearing. 38 Colorado chapters of Big Game Forever provided written testimony for the Denver hearing. Each of these letters had between 5 and 50 signatures from Big Game Forever chapter representatives. BGF’s written testimony ended up being very important. Many sportsmen and livestock producers in attendance were not able to testify orally because of limited slots for oral testimony.

A pro-wolf rally held outside the theater 3 hours before the hearing meant that wolf activists stacked the deck when it came to speaking slots. Most of the oral testimony focused on highly emotional animal rights rhetoric. “Stop the slaughter” of wolves in the Northern Rockies was the predominant theme. Another theme was “we need wolves in Rocky Mountain National Park.” Written testimony from Big Game Forever chapters was critically important to show the wide spread support for wolf-delisting in Colorado. This written testimony is treated equally with oral testimony for the hearing record. A huge “thank you” to Colorado Big Game Forever supporters for your tremendous leadership in providing the chapter letters and signatures for the hearing. Thank you to each of you who took the time to travel to and attend the hearing in person.

New Mexico Hearing
The hearing in Albuquerque was much different from the hearing in Denver. The vast majority of testimony was in support of responsible wolf management. Many of you showed up 2 hours early to ensure you would have a chance to testify. Most of the testimony expressed concern about the effort to move the goal posts on longstanding delisting objectives. Several activists suggested that the service should replace the current wolf mandate of 100 wolves with a new mandate a 750-wolf minimum number with requirements for recovery in at least 3 separate population areas. This is more than double the recovery mandates for wolves in the Northern Rockies. These advocates also lobbied for Mexican Wolf mandates in Southern Colorado and Southern Utah, despite the fact that these areas lie outside of historic Mexican Wolf range.

In the hearing, USFWS made it clear that it may attempt to mandate Mexican Wolves in areas outside of historic wolf habitat, including the Arizona Strip and Northern New Mexico. Many Ranchers expressed concern that the new wolf expansion plans essentially renege on past commitments from federal officials. Several elected officials pointed out that new wolf boundaries would require Mexican wolves in areas inhabited by the Prairie Chicken and Sand Lizards. This is important due to the fact that these are Prarrie Chicken and Sand Lizards are species of conservation concern that have been suggested for endangered species act listings.

Again, thank you to all of the Big Game Forever members who took the time to attend the New Mexico hearing. Your testimony and support made a huge difference at the hearing.

Lesson Learned on Making our Voice Heard at Hearings
Lessons learned from these hearing include:
(1) Sportsmen and Livestock need to show-up! Numbers and attendance make all of the difference in these public hearings;
(2) Arrive early to ensure that sportsmen and livestock producers testify in the hearings; and
(3) Prepare a written statement. It is treated equally with oral testimony. If you don’t have a chance to testify, your written statement is still treated as testimony for the hearing.

Here is the information for tonight’s hearing and the Dec. 3rd hearing.

Sacramento
When: Tomorrow, November 22, 2013, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Marriot Courtyard Sacramento Cal Expo, Golden State Ballroom, 1782 Tribute Road, Sacramento, CA 95815; (916) 929–7900. ?

Arizona
When: December 3, 2013, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Hon-Dah Conference Center, 777 Highway 260, Pinetop, AZ 85935 (3 miles outside of Pinetop at the Junction of Hwy 260 and Hwy 73); (928) 369–7625.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to protect America’s wildlife!


Ryan Benson
http://biggameforever.org/
ryandbenson@msn.com

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Mexican Wolf Comments Made Easy

From Wolf Crossing dot org:

ALL MEMBERS! WE NEED YOUR INPUT ON BOTH OF THESE! Do Not disregard this email. Each and everyone of you is needed. Get your spouses, your kids, your neighbors EVERYONE to do comments!

Okay, I know this will be confusing and you may get frustrated, but hang in there, you can do it! I’m going to try and explain this as plain as I can, if you still don’t understand when I’m done. Don’t give up, call, email, ask for help! Please realize we need EVERYONE to comment on these two rulings. It will affect each and every one of you sooner or later, even if you are not in the expansion area. Wolves don’t understand boundaries and if they do travel into your area and you are NOT in the expansion area (under the 10j rule, see definition below), you have very limited tools to use to address the problems they will cause on your operations! Plus see second map and you will see what the Environmentalist want in the future!

Open up the document [I made this into a downloadable PDF] and it will give you a step by step approach to commenting on these proposals!

If you have any questions or need help. Please feel free to call me or email me! If you want me to read over them, send them to me! I’ll be glad to do it. I would appreciate you sending me a copy of what you comment for later references. We anticipate this ending up in court. It always does, we need all the documentation of our members we can get!

Joel A. Alderete
Regional Director
YF&R Coordinator
NM Farm & Livestock Bureau
PO Box 2286
Roswell, NM 88202
(575) 622-6415
joela@nmflb.org

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