280 Groups Oppose Western Governors' Association's Efforts to Weaken Endangered Species Act

On February 23, 2017 more than 280 environmental groups sent a letter to the National Governors Association urging them to oppose any upcoming legislative changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Western Governors' Association has been spearheading an ongoing effort to weaken this essential wildlife law for several years. In June of 2016 the Western Governors' Association adopted a resolution that would substantially weaken the ESA. They are now wanting National Governors' Association to do the same.

Anti-environmental legislators are looking for the political punch to completely repeal the Endangered Species Act. An endorsement by the National Governors' Association to "improve" the ESA would strengthen that effort.

Present legislation gives states the responsibility for managing the wildlife within their state. In nearly all cases, when they fail to maintain healthy populations of endangered/threatened wildlife the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) steps in to protect the effected species under the Endangered Species Act.

Once a species is protected, the Act has demonstrated a 99 percent success rate at preventing the species from going extinct. Despite this track record, anti-environmentalists continually make the false claim that the ESA is failing. The facts demonstrate its effectiveness, but recently our government does not want hear about facts and anything science-based.

Members of the House of Representatives have tried more than 230 times to weaken/repeal the ESA. In just the past two years, 130 separate pieces of legislation and amendments were introduced to eliminate the protections for specific species or weaken the entire ESA.

I want to beg of you to take the time and effort to either call or write your governor and demand that he/she does not support this proposal or anything similar to it. Recently your legislators don't seem to want to hear from their constituents. But your governor is supposed to be a strong advocate for the people of their state. Here's hoping that your governor will listen to you more than your legislators.

Mexican Gray Wolf Population Reaches A New Milestone

Mexican Gray Wolf

The Mexican wolf is the rarest of all the gray wolf subspecies. It was hunted to near extinction before the beginning of a captive breeding program. On January 28, 1998 three Mexican wolves were released into the wild of the southwest U.S. These were the first Mexican wolves to return to the wild in nearly 30 years. I was one of just a few non-government and non-media attendees at the event. It was one of the most momentous days of my life.

In 2016 their population rebounded to 113. This is the most since the beginning of its reintroduction. In 2016 50 wild-born pups survived compared with just 23 in 2015. It is felt that this unusual pup survival was the reason for the population spike. The cause of this usual pup survival is under investigation.

Mexican Wolf
Mexican Wolf

Even with these new figures the population needs a major infusion of new blood with releases of more captive-bred wolves. The captive breeding program began with just 7 animals. Inbreeding has been a big concern since the program began.

Mexican Wolf
Mexican Wolf
Bryan Bird
Bryan Bird, Southwest program director for Defenders of Wildlife.

Arizona favors placing captive-born pups with wild packs instead of releasing pairs to form new packs. Which method is better is actively debated. On the other hand New Mexico is impeding their recovery even more. It has secured a court injunction barring new releases into the state. This has created a major precedent-setting conflict between New Mexico and the federal government. "New Mexico is paving a path that could lead to Mexican gray wolf extinction," said Bryan Bird, Southwest program director for Defenders of Wildlife.

USFWS has been negligent in preparing a Mexican gray wolf recovery plan. Such a plan is required by law. It is necessary that it establish population goals that are based on sound, objective science. It should also establish the method needed to achieve these goals.

Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt carrying in one of the Mexican wolves at the first release January 28, 1998
Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt carrying in one of the Mexican wolves at the first release January 28, 1998

We need more wolves and less politics. Politics have become the biggest obstacle to many of today's environmental controversies. The present administration is actively trying to silence science. Science is the public's path to the truth.

Pack Member of the Month

Bandit

Bandit

Back in 2010 Bandit joined the U.S. Wolf Refuge at just 11 months old. At this young age this was his 3rd home. His previous owner represented him as a wolf-dog. But in the 6 years he has been with us we now feel he is merely a happy, very social great-Dane/malamute mix.

We often try to find names that fit the animals. Bandit's name when he came to us was Lobo (Spanish for wolf).

Bandit in the Snow

Since he doesn't appear to have any wolf content and because of the mask around his eyes we thought that Bandit suited him better.

Bandit is very loving and playful. His style of play is often quite physical and can be brutal if you're not prepared for it. He's weighs 115 pounds and his paws are huge. He enjoys attention from everybody. He shares his 2- acre mountain enclosure with one or two other big boys. He is generally quite happy all the time.

Nikita in the Snow

Your $20.00 donation will be for a one year sponsorship of Bandit. You or the person of your choice will be sent a "Certificate of Adoption" with their name on it, a brief profile sheet of that animal, and a frameable 5 x 7 photo nicely organized in a folder.

Help care for Bandit by making this $20.00 donation today.

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Upcoming Events

April 23rd 11am - 6pm - EARTH DAY

Idlewild Park - Reno NV

May 12 - 14, 2017 - Stanford PowWow

Stanford University, Palo Alto CA

Paws in the Park date yet to be set

San Rafael Park, Reno, NV

July 16th - 2016 10am - 5pm - ART PAWS

McKinley Arts & Cultural Center, Reno NV

WolfStock 2017 date to be set

Potenialist Workshop, Reno NV (may change)

October 14, 2017 10am - 6pm
Wildlife Conservation Network Expo

Mission Bay Conference Center, San Francisco, CA

Speaking engagements available upon request
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