To the editor:
It's been a rough couple of weeks for America's gray wolf population, and things just got a lot worse for Arizona's endangered Mexican wolves as well.
-- Nov. 29: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar apparently made a back-room pledge to Western governors by supporting congressional efforts stripping endangered species protection for America's wolves. If successful it will be the first time congress amended the Endangered Species Act to remove federal protection for any species.
-- Dec. 2: Eight Western Caucus members introduced a brazenly anti-wolf bill in Congress, the so-called "State Sovereignty Wildlife Management Act," designed to eliminate endangered species protection for all gray wolves, including the fewer than 50 Mexican wolves struggling to return to Arizona's wildlands.
-- Dec. 5: The Arizona Game and Fish Department's director of the wolf recovery program lobbied the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to endorse congressional efforts to eliminate federal protection for wolves. These are the very animals Arizona's director is supposedly charged to restore. In a 4-1 vote, the state commission agreed to advocate removal of Endangered Species protection for this imperiled species.
As some politicians and bureaucrats continue to ignore the majority of Arizona residents who support Mexican wolf recovery, America's most endangered mammal faces greater threats to its survival. If you're concerned about your wolves, a species essential to restoring healthy, sustainable wildlands in Arizona, go to www.mexicanwolves.org and see how you can help prevent a "second extinction" of this rare, intelligent, beautiful and increasingly threatened subspecies.
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Director, Grand Canyon Wildlands Council