August 6, 2020

Feds Declare Mouse Endangered. Move Toward Shutting Down Family Ranch

A family’s livestock enterprise in New Mexico is in danger of being completely shut down now that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared the meadow jumping mouse to be an endangered species, Watchdog reports.

The new regulations came into effect from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last month, and as a result, the U.S. Forest Service is considering installing 8-foot high fences to protect the mouse, which would permanently prevent the Lucero family’s livestock from grazing.<<<Read More>>>


More Wolf Releases Planned for New Mexico This Summer

This is information I received in an email today:

“On June 18 2014 FWS plans on releasing M 1282 and F 1295 as an active pair on Gila Flat in SW NM in the Gila Wilderness.
This was the same pair of wolves that recieved a confirmed livestock kill up on the el malpiase near Grants earlier this spring and were trapped from the territory they had established outside the boundary of the current BRWRA. By Jan 2015 this type of removal and relocation back onto ranches in the Gila will no longer occur, FWS will have a new plan in place that will allow expansion of the original boundaries to include the Cibola Forest. The Apache and Tonto forests the entire Gila and southern NM border region.

On July 22 FWS also plans on releasing what they are calling the Coronodo pack, F 1106 and M 1051 and 4 pups, the pack will be old enough to travel upon release and is not expected to stay at McKenna park in the initial release area by anyone except FWS who cannot seem to figure out the Wilderness in the Gila is not wolf habitat.

If you have not already gotten this news, sorry to have to be the person to release it.”


Is Hunter License Fees Being Used to Feed Predators?

It seems to be the trend all across the nation. State after state announcing plans to reduce game tags and cut back on the number of game animals allowed to be harvested, seriously cutting into hunter opportunities.

New Mexico is considering cutting way back on the number of deer that will be harvested due to a population decrease. It seems that any talk of lost opportunity and game population reductions is quickly attributed to lost habitat and, of course, global warming, but with the nationwide movement to protect large predators isn’t much of the loss of game animals due to predator protection? Aren’t hunter license fees essentially going to providing feed for over protected predators?


Wolves in Government Clothing



New Mexico Wolf Meeting



Wolves… What Next? Join fellow ranchers at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, April 21, 2014 in Winston NM



Counter Offensive to Stop Efforts of Wolf Crossing to Thwart Killer Wolves

From The Opposition:

Folks the animal activists are at it again, trying to force ranchers to live with spree killing Mexican wolves. They are upset because only one wolf may be removed. There are up to 9 wolves killing bred cows with 15 killed in the last month alone. Please call those numbers and urge FWS to follow the RULE and remove that pack. Lethally if necessary. Ranches and JOBS they provide should be more important than a pack of problem wolves.

USFWS Southwest Regional Office
Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator: 505-761-4748
External Affairs Office: 505-248-6911
Main Office: 505-248-6920

USFWS in Washington, DC Public number: 1-800-344-9453

New Mexico Senators:
Senator Martin Heinrich DC: 202-224-6621 ABQ: 505-346-6601
Senator Tom Udall DC: 202-224-5521 ABQ: 505-346-6791


Mexican Wolf Comment and Letter Campaign and Talking Points

HOWL vs Home

Do you want wolves in your back or font yards where your kids or grand kids play???

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has two proposals open for comment. One to delist all wolves EXECPT the Mexican Wolf. The other is to change the release boundaries and other things in the 10J rule which runs the Mexican wolf program now. FWS has proposed everything south of I-40 as suitable habitat and Defenders of Wildlife have proposed Suitable Wolf Habitat and Potential Dispersal Corridors in the Southwest that include ALL of New Mexico, including Northern New Mexico. You must submit comments to BOTH FWS proposals to have your voice heard.

Join us for our Mexican Wolf Comment and Letter Campaign

When: December 16, 2013

Where: Cuba NRCS Office
44 County Road 11 Ste 4a
Cuba, New Mexico
Time: 5:00pm – 8:00pm

Your Voice Needs To Be Heard


Talking Points!

Management and rule planning.

NO private landowner agreements due to surrounding livestock producer and private property impacts.

Do not remove the rule that allows defense of livestock on deeded land. Instead add defense of stock dogs and hunting dogs on federally administered land. Protecting rural livelihoods is not likely to further endanger the species and keeping economic stability on the land is far more important than the miniscule number of wolves that could potentially be killed in the act of harming private property.

Private property (pets, livestock and other privately owned animals)deserve protection from wolves and the owners should never have their rights to protect them restricted or denied over this animal. They are not in danger of extinction as some have claimed.

No permit should ever be required for a property owner to protect livestock regardless of the location of that livestock. Discriminating against allotment owners by disallowing them to defend their livestock from attack, is not ethical and is arbitrary and capricious whether on deeded land or a federally administered grazing allotment where the owner has surface property rights and rights of way. Location does not change the designation of private property.

State lands should not gain the same management status as federally owned land. States must decide that issue not this program.

Replacing the term depredation incident was done by default of a policy change several years ago, it should be defined as one animal not multiple animals in a 24 hour period. The change was arbitrary and capricious then and it is arbitrary and capricious as a rule change as well.

Stop using the term Extinction in the wild, it was coined by wolf advocates and isn’t relevant to this program. Extinction only means the state or situation that results when something (such as a plant or animal species) has died out completely. It isn’t subject to location or whether or not an animal is or isn’t in all corners of the historic habitat. It is spin until or if the captive breeding animals all die, and the wild population is also dead something that is less likely to occur than it was in the years before this program began. This animal is not worse off than it was in 1998 and the term was not being thrown around so loosely about them.

Incorporate the New Mexico Cattle Growers association Petition for rule change document into scoping and alternatives. Simply ignoring it isn’t an option the paper was presented officially during the 5 year review and thus far FWS has ignored it.

Removal of trapping in the BRWRA and expanded areas is not conducive to the survival of the species as a whole, all released wolves are redundant and not essential to the survival of the species, if one is accidentally trapped on occasion it does not threaten the species.

Delisting and Re-listing of the Mexican wolf

Delist the Mexican wolf with the gray wolf. line bred from one female wolf is not a separate and distinct subspecies. , the only designation that applies here whether they are a distinct subspecies or simply a geographically separate gray wolf is experimental non-essential.

Do not change listing to Essential whether or not such population is essential to the continued existence of an endangered species or a threatened species is the only criteria that matters. With the captive population and breeding animals in place and with the northern populations, none of these wolves are essential to the continued existence of this species. For 16 years non-essential was the legal definition of this animal.

With the substantial captive breeding gene pool, and the wild population being made up of solely redundant animals, this population of wolves is not in danger of extinction and cannot be designated essential.

This wolf populations is an experimental population simply due to the fact that it is made up of genetically redundant wolves and is geographic separation from the main population in the northern part of the country, for the purposes of the ESA. Whether or not it is essential to the continued existence of an endangered species or a threatened species is vague at best after all every single wolf is duplicated genetically in the captive breeding pool.

Critical habitat shall not be designated under this Act for any experimental population determined under subparagraph (B) to be not essential to the continued existence of a species.

The Mexican wolf is not a subspecies of wolf, it is a gray wolf and able to breed with the original species. A grizzly and black bear are separate and distinct subspecies, but a gray wolf and Mexican wolf can breed and therefore are not. The Mexican wolf is simply a line bred, wolf with the distinction of sharing mitochondrial DNA between the gene pool. It does not make it a separate distinct sub species. It is simply a geographically separate population of gray wolves.

For more information please contact NMCGA at 505.247.0584


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.

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.

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


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:

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.

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. ?

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