Target: Tom Udall, Senior Senator of New Mexico
Goal: Prevent the removal of federally funded programs to protect the endangered Mexican gray wolf.
The Mexican gray wolf is the most endangered subspecies of North America’s gray wolves, and was hunted nearly to extinction in the 20th century. In 1976, the Mexican gray wolf was listed as endangered, and all remaining individuals were rounded up in captive breeding programs. The first Mexican gray wolves were released in Arizona and New Mexico in 1998. Although the program experienced early successes, population growth has been slow and progress has been threatened by illegal poaching and shootings by ranchers. In 2015, there were only 97 Mexican grey wolves in the wild, not nearly enough for a healthy, sustainable population.
The Mexican gray wolf needs constant care and protection to ensure that the species isn’t driven to extinction. Since their reintroduction, nearly 100 wolves have been illegally killed by poachers and livestock owners. Despite current regulations by FWS, four wolves have been shot in the past few months alone. Without these federal protections, experts say that the Mexican gray wolves would be left without any barriers to check rampant hunting, trapping, and shooting, and would soon be driven to extinction.
An amendment to a bill that recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives will cut the funding for many federal programs that ensure protection of endangered species in the southwest. If this bill passes the Senate and is put into effect, it will undermine crucial protections for the greater sage grouse, the lesser prairie chicken, and the New Mexican meadow jumping mouse in addition to the Mexican gray wolf. The amendment was proposed and led by New Mexico Representative Steve Pearce, a long-time opponent of the Mexican gray wolf recovery program funded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Mexican gray wolf needs the full support of federal programs and funding to protect its struggling population. The amendment introduced by Rep. Pearce will end federal protections and make the endangered wolf extremely vulnerable. This amendment must be removed from the bill before it passes the Senate and is made into law.
Dear Senator Udall,
Mexican gray wolves historically inhabited the southwestern U.S. before being nearly wiped out by unregulated hunting in the mid-20th century. Since then, captive breeding and recovery programs have saved the wolves from extinction. However, they still need significant protections to maintain and grow their population.
Federal funding for these essential programs is at risk due to a new amendment to a bill recently passed by the House. If it is approved by the Senate, this bill, with attached amendment, will undermine federal wolf recovery programs and programs meant to protect other endangered species.
As New Mexico’s senior senator, you must work with your peers and those from your home state to ensure that this amendment isn’t made into law. And, if the bill is passed back to the House, you must work with New Mexico’s representatives to remove the amendment for good. Mexican gray wolves are an important and historic part of New Mexico ecosystems, and you must do everything in your power to protect them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jim Clark