KNAU and Arizona News
2:41 am
Wed December 3, 2008

Fish and Wildlife Asked to Update Mexican Wolf Plan

Flagstaff, AZ – The Center for Biological Diversity and two other conservation groups filed a petition yesterday with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking the agency to revise its now 26-year-old plan for the recovery of the Mexican Gray Wolf.

The wolf was rescued from the edge of extinction in the American Southwest in the late 1970s.

Since then, it's numbers have increased slowly in captive breeding, and, 10 years ago the first Mexican Gray Wolves were reintroduced into the wild.

Michael Robinson, Conservation Advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity, said the case of the Mexican Gray Wolf is special.

"It's the most imperiled mammal in North America," Robinson said. "We have a vulnerable, tenuous population of around 50 wolves on the Arizona-New Mexico border that are being mismanaged by the governmernt."

Robinson says the Fish and Wildlife service has dragged its heels for years in updating the recovery plan for the Mexican Gray wolf, which, he says, only set out goals through September of 1984.

Elizabeth Sloan, spokeswoman for the US Fish and Wildlife service in the Southwest region, says the agency agrees the plan needs updating.

"It's so clear every day to us," said Sloan. "We are sorely aware of the fact that it's needs updating we want to update it our hands have been tied because of litigation."

Sloan says unresolved federal litigation over the fate of all gray wolves, of which the Mexican gray is a subspecies, makes updating the plan right now imprudent.

There is no firm deadline for the government to reply to the conservation groups' petition.