Don't Let Congress Condemn the Mexican Gray Wolf to Extinction!
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We are writing to you today to express our extreme concerns about the legislation that has been introduced over the past few years to delist the Mexican Gray Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) and/or otherwise end the recovery of this highly threatened subspecies (Congress 2015; Congress 2016a; Congress 2016b; Congress 2016c; Congress 2017; Congress 2018).
The Mexican Gray Wolf is the most genetically distinct subspecies of the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) in North America, and is native to Mexico and the American Southwest. This wolf was subjected to extensive human persecution once Europeans colonized the continent, which nearly drove it to extinction. The Mexican Gray Wolf was listed as an Endangered subspecies in 1976, and became extinct in the wild once the last seven survivors were removed into captivity. This wolf was reintroduced to Arizona and New Mexico in 1998 and to Mexico in 2011. While the wild populations have been increasing in recent years, the subspecies struggles to recover, with only 113 wolves in the American Southwest and 31 wolves in Mexico (USFWS 2017).
The Mexican Gray Wolf is protected as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because it is in serious danger of going extinct, and it is one of the most endangered mammals in North America (ASM 2007). The Mexican Gray Wolf is ranked as Critically Imperiled by the esteemed conservation organization NatureServe (Hammerson 2013), which is defined as a species that is “at very high risk of extinction due to extreme rarity…, very steep declines, or other factors” (NatureServe 2018).
The purpose of the ESA is stated as “to provide a program for the conservation of… endangered species” (Congress 1973), with the ESA defining an Endangered species as “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range” (Congress 1973). The lobo delisting legislation would be a violation of the ESA since they would strip the Mexican Gray Wolf of its ESA protections, would end conservation actions that are directed towards it, and could potentially result in the extinction of this Endangered subspecies.
Therefore, we ask that you please veto any anti-lobo legislation that makes its way through Congress. Thank you.
American Society of Mammalogists (ASM). 2007. Reintroduction and conservation of the Mexican gray wolf. <https://www.mammalsociety.org/committees/resolutions/resolution-of-gray-wolves>
Hammerson, G. 2013. Canis lupus baileyi. NatureServe. <http://explorer.natureserve.org/servlet/NatureServe?searchName=Canis+lupus+baileyi>
NatureServe. 2018. Conservation status assessment: identifying threatened species and ecosystems. <http://www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/conservation-status-assessment>
US Congress. 1973. Endangered Species Act. 16 U.S.C.
US Congress. 2015. H.R. 2910 - Mexican Wolf Transparency and Accountability Act.
US Congress. 2016a. S. Amdt. 3164 of S. 2012 - Delisting of Mexican Gray Wolves Amendment.
US Congress. 2016b. S. 2876 - Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan Act of 2016.
US Congress. 2016c. H. Amdt. 1344 of H.R. 5538 - None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to treat the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) as an endangered species or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) or to implement a recovery plan for such species that applies in any area outside the historic range of such species.
US Congress. 2017. S. 368 - Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan Act of 2017.
US Congress. 2018. S. 2277 - A bill to require the delisting of Mexican gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 on a determination that the subspecies has been sufficiently recovered in the United States.
USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service). 2017. Mexican wolf recovery plan, first revision.
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