Monday, August 12, 2013

Federal Plan to Increase Range for Mexican Wolves in Arizona

A Mexican wolf inside a holding pen in New Mexico's Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge.

It has been recently reported that the U.S government is providing a plan that would allow Mexican wolves to roam freely across the state of Arizona for the first time. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service published a draft of the proposed changes last month that, if enforced, would let wolves roam from western Arizona to eastern New Mexico between Interstates 40 and 10. The draft contains likely wolf reintroduction sites in northern Arizona on the Tonto National Forest, all over the Sitgreaves National Forest and other public lands, as well as private lands where there is a cooperating landowner. In addition, the proposal also demands expansion of an area where the wolves could wander to add parts of central New Mexico's Cibola National Forest. As a whole, there would be a decennial increase in the area where biologists are working to restore the population. Environmentalists accepted the possibility of expansion, but also expressed concerns about provisions that could create schemes that would increase situations in which the wolves could be killed for livestock predation or other reasons.

I'm very proud and grateful that the federal government has given the consideration about the conservation of Mexican wolves, and acted upon it by proposing a plan that would allow them to flourish in parts of the American Southwest where they had disappeared. This proposal has received a great deal of support from groups, especially the Apache tribe, who has an agreement with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service that has let the wolves to roam on their lands in eastern Arizona. In addition, wolves have been sighted in the past in northern Arizona as close to places like Mormon Lake and the city of Flagstaff and Holbrook along Interstate 40. This has led scientists to choose the Grand Canyon as principal wolf territory. They stated that the region could support as many as 200 animals. However, this proposal has also received negative opinions from ranchers in Arizona who feel that the program to reintroduce wolves back into their former haunts has been unsuccessful and that they cannot afford any loss of livestock from these animals. I firmly believe that the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and other groups actively involved in this project should identify particular areas in Arizona and New Mexico that do not include any ranches. If these areas happen to be close to any ranch lands, then the groups should take the initiative in educating ranchers about the ecological importance of Mexican wolves and provide them with safe measurements to keep wolves off their ranch. One possibility would be to erect fencing high enough to keep the wolves out, and another would be to provide ranchers with livestock guardian dogs to prevent the wolves from attacking their livestock.

View article here 

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