I am a retired teacher and community volunteer, with a great love for the outdoors. I read, with interest, your article dated June 30, which shared information about the newly released draft plan for wolf recovery in our area. Thank you for publishing it.

The Mexican Gray Wolf is native to this area but was hunted to near extinction by the mid 1900s. Wolves are predators that are needed in forested terrain, where elk and deer roam, to keep the ecosystem healthy. They not only cull the old and the sick in these ungulate populations, but create habitat for birds, fish, and many other animals by keeping deer and elk moving, so that they do not destroy vegetation and muddy streams.

The Grand Canyon region is prime habitat for these wolves, yet the proposed plan calls for restricting wolf territory to south of I-40 in Arizona and New Mexico. The report acknowledges that a minimum population of at least 320 wolves would have to survive over a period of several years in order to be recovered. This number is almost three times the number of wolves currently living in the wild. In order to be sustainable, wolves need more territory, not less, and more captive wolves need to be released into the wild to improve genetic diversity and increase their numbers.

I live in Hart Prairie and would be thrilled to hear the howl of wolves in my backyard. They will bring health to our forests and restore the balance.

GRETCHEN MARKIEWICZ

Flagstaff

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