For Release: January 14, 2009
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 or [email protected]
Statement on USFWS Plans to Introduce More Mexican Gray Wolves in the Southwest
R.J. Smith, Senior Fellow, The National Center for Public Policy Research
Washington, DC - For a quarter of a century the controversial program to repopulate the Southwest with Mexican Gray Wolves has created a constant political struggle in New Mexico and Arizona. There were very good reasons why the early settlers across the West and the local, state and federal governments cooperated in eliminating the wolves. The large numbers of wolves made cattle and sheep ranching nearly impossible with their constant depredations on the livestock and they also threatened family dogs and even children.
However, as radical Greens have gained influence with liberal politicians and the media, they have been able to gain support for their efforts to force family farmers, ranchers and landowners off the land and return it to dangerous predators. It is part and parcel of their ongoing program of "rural cleansing": to remove people from the land and return it to near wilderness. It is part of a massive program called the Wildlands Project, which even enjoyed support within the Bush administration's political appointees in the Department of Interior.
The USFWS has said that the federal efforts to reintroduce the wolves require the release of still more wolves in order to improve the chances for success. By success they must mean the total elimination of people and livestock in the Southwest. Apparently they have noticed that there are still some ranchers managing to survive who have not lost all their livestock. The chief Mexican Wolf official with the Southwest field office of the USFWS said that the current recovery plan's target wolf population is not high enough.
There have been continuous conflicts in the relatively limited areas where the wolves have already been released over the last decade. Constant wolf attacks on livestock and farm dogs, wolves circling farmhouses at night and wolves gathering near rural school bus stops. There have already been calls for building wolf-proof bus stop shelters in order to protect children from possible attacks. It is widely know that federal officials seldom respond quickly enough following reports of livestock predation to document the event and attempt to capture the specific wolves involved. Although the feds have had to recapture some wolves which have repeatedly been involved in predation, their often slow response has led to examples of ranchers and farmers acting to protect their livestock and their families.
Yet the feds not only want to release still more wolves but they want to release them across a far wider area of the Southwest.
One wonders what oath of office the politicians took who acted to place the well being of wolves before that of American families and children.