Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Deal sets into motion Mexican Wolf recovery plan

A settlement announced Tuesday between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and several environmental groups that had filed a lawsuit over the agency’s stalled recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf could help restart efforts to boost the endangered animal’s numbers in New Mexico and Arizona. Under the deal, the Fish and Wildlife Service is required to develop a new wolf management plan before the year’s end. Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement Tuesday that the new plan “should trigger new releases of captive-bred wolves into the wild and establish new Mexican wolf populations. “After four decades of delay, a scientific road map for recovery of the Mexican gray wolf will finally be a reality,” he added. The settlement comes just a week after the federal agency announced it would move forward with wolf releases in New Mexico this summer, despite the state’s objections, and the state threatened to sue if the releases move forward. The settlement says the agency must release a new recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf by Nov. 30. It also requires the agency to pay $56,467 in legal fees to the environmental groups. In the ongoing debate over the federal agency’s plans to release Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico, the state has cited the lack of current science and the need for a new federal management strategy. It has twice denied the agency a permit for wolf releases. New Mexico Game and Fish Department Director Alexa Sandoval told The New Mexican in January that releasing the wolves without a management plan would be like “driving with blinders on.”...more

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