Sunday, July 31, 2011

Environmentalits Renew Pressure for Trapping Ban in Mexican Wolf Area

Mexican wolf

The state game officials in New Mexico had recently lifted the ban on trapping. But now, environmentalists are resuming the pressure by calling for the federal government to do more regarding the protection of the Mexican wolf. The U.S Fish & Wildlife Service and the Forest Service had received letters from WildEarth Guardians and its supporters asking the officials should reconsider a 2010 petition intended to ban trapping throughout the wolf area in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. Supporters say that trapping is a threat to the wolf recovery program, and agencies have a legal obligation to maintain individuals that can hunt their natural prey.

According to the letters, two wolves had their limbs amputated as a result of trapping. Environmentalists now want the Fish and Wildlife Service to mend the wolf reintroduction rule to ban the using of all traps in the range. They also want the Forest Service to set up emergency trapping enclosures on the Gila and Apache forests and change any planning documents to outlaw trapping in the future. Tom Buckley, a spokesman for the regional Fish & Wildlife Service, assured that they would keep an eye out and encourage any trappers to check their traps regularly so that no wildlife, including wolves, will suffer. He further added that the service is still trying to renovate the wolf recovery plan and is setting its new restriction program so that ranchers who lose their livestock to wolves have another place to find financial help.

I'm unsure about how this plan is going. Personally, I think what Buckley said may do little to help the Mexican wolf. That is, suppose a trapper checks his trap and finds a wolf trapped in it, how will he be able to help the animal such that it will not sustain critical injuries? By checking traps on a regular basis, I think that further contributes to affecting the wolf recovery plan. If the Fish and Wildlife Service wants to help in the wolf recovery program, then it should learn from conservation groups who have the knowledge in saving these magnificent creatures. However, I have nothing against this new restriction plan the service has set up. Hopefully, it will be something to ease the tension between the ranchers and wolves. But this idea of laying traps and snares in wolf area is different. It can easily be compared to when an indigenous tribe sets up traps intended to capture nuisance animals, but end up catching non-nuisance animal like a lion or a tiger. That's why, I firmly believe that trapping in parts of Arizona and New Mexico which happen to be hotspots for Mexican wolves would further hinder the recovery program and not help the population increase to hundred animals as hoped by biologists.

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