Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fish and Wildlife announces ‘aggressive’ wolf release plan in NM

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to release Mexican wolves in New Mexico this year despite state opposition. In a plan described as “aggressive” and posted Monday to its website, the service said it intends to release a pack of wolves in New Mexico and could “cross-foster” into wild packs some pups born in captivity in an effort to improve the genetic diversity of the free-ranging endangered population of Mexican wolves. “Initial releases and cross-fostering are the preferred methods available to improve the genetic diversity of the wild population,” the plan states. “The 2016 plan is aggressive by attempting as many cross-fostering efforts as logistically possible, while continuing to evaluate the efficacy of the method.” Last year saw an epic battle between the wildlife service and the New Mexico Game Commission, which after months of bureaucratic back and forth ultimately denied the federal government permission to release wolves into the wild in New Mexico. The service subsequently stated that it would use its federal authority – trumping state authority – to carry on with the program. New Mexico Game Commissioner Bob Ricklefs said the commission had no official reaction yet but added, “We knew it was coming.” Fish and Wildlife Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle said the service “values the partnership we have with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and it remains our policy to consult with the states in our joint efforts to recover species.” He added, “Recovery of the Mexican wolf remains the service’s goal. We have a statutory responsibility and the authority to recover the Mexican wolf and strive to do so in a collaborative manner with our partners.”...more

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