Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a draft revision to its 2017 Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan. The plan is the result of a legal victory by Defenders of Wildlife and partners and outlines the ways the agency will address poaching and other human-caused deaths.
“We want to reduce the number of wolves killed or otherwise removed from the wild and are encouraged by the revised plan,” said Bryan Bird, director of Defenders of Wildlife’s Southwest Program. “They’ve got a long list of priorities outlined in the plan, but there’s an emphasis in the right places.”
The Mexican gray wolf is one of the most endangered mammals in North America, with a single population occupying eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. This population is beset by numerous threats, including widespread illegal killing and inbreeding caused by inadequate releases of more genetically diverse wolves from a captive population.
Under court order, FWS had until April 14, 2022, to complete draft revisions to the recovery plan and until July 1, 2022, to complete final revisions of the management rule. The court required that the revised plan include actions that address illegal killing and other sources of unnatural mortality.
In addition to Defenders of Wildlife, plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to the draft revised plan were Center for Biological Diversity, Endangered Wolf Center, Wolf Conservation Center and retired Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican wolf recovery coordinator David R. Parsons. The plaintiffs were represented by EarthJustice.
The draft revised recovery plan’s release will start a 30-day public comment period.
Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.