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To the editor: The article in Saturday's Daily Sun, "Federal count of Mexican wolves drops by 10," is bad news for this native Arizonan subspecies of wolf. As there were only 52 of these animals living in the wild last January, this new count represents a loss of 20 percent of the total Mexican wolf population living in the wild. It is more imperative than ever that the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service quickly craft an updated plan, based on sound science, to ensure the recovery of this subspecies that they have identified as "one of the rarest land mammals in the world."

One issue plaguing the recovery of this wolf over the past 11 years is the illegal shooting of these animals by anti-wolf individuals. These people are criminals who feel their fanatical hatred of wolves outweighs the views of the majority of Arizona/New Mexico citizens who support restoring his key predator to its historic habitat. I urge the FWS to increase its focus on the apprehension and prosecution of these criminals. And I encourage readers who support the protection of the Mexican wolf to contact Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Regional Director of the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, P. O. Box 1306, Albuquerque NM 87103 to express your support for the recovery of his magnificent animal in the Arizona wilderness. Your letter, e-mail or phone call could help drive the changes needed if the lobo is to survive.

STEVE ROBINSON

Flagstaff

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