Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Feds Proceed With New Mexico Wolf Releases, Defying Locals

A new Mexican gray wolf pack is in an acclimation pen near Hannagan Meadow in the Blue Primitive Area of the Apache National Forest. Others are awaiting release this spring in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. In New Mexico, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a soft mesh, low-impact temporary wolf acclimation pen in the Gila Wilderness Area. These wolves will be released about April 20. Following release, FWS says, the wolves' movements will be monitored by the interagency field team. Translocation of a second family group is planned for the end of March. "So much for the NEPA process," says Caren Cowan with the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association. "Four working days between scoping and the environmental assessment. Two days between EA and the decision." Although Catron, Grant, and Sierra counties have gone on record opposing the program by passing local ordinances prohibiting the release of wolves, the FWS says simply that its own rules preempt conflicting local ordinances and resolutions...Livestock Weekly

USFWS and State G&F continue to be viewed as the enemy by the local citizenry. Expansion of the recovery area will only create more local opposition. Either design a program that has local buy-in or get out. The current situation is bad for the wolves and bad for the folks.

No comments: