Target: Center for Biological Diversity Conservation Advocate Michael Robinson
Goal: Support lawsuit demanding a plan for the recovery of Mexican gray wolves
Mexican gray wolves have been in danger of extinction for decades, but the government continues to flout its responsibility to help them. According to the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) must create an objective recovery plan for any species it lists as endangered, but in the case of the Mexican gray wolf the FWS has put off finalizing a recovery plan for over 30 years. This outrage led a cadre of conservation groups to file a recent lawsuit against the FWS, calling on the justice system to give the agency a firm deadline of one year for the completion of a scientific recovery plan for the dwindling wolves.
The plaintiffs include environmental activists and wolf advocates Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, Endangered Wolf Center, David R. Parsons, and the Wolf Conservation Center. All are in agreement that the FWS has avoided making a real effort to protect Mexican gray wolves due to political pressures from states, hunting organizations, and other interest groups. Each of the three times that the agency has convened groups of scientists to form a species recovery plan, the plan has ended up on hold just before its completion.
An initial recovery plan was begun in 1982 but never finished; though it still lacks the objective criteria and scientific plan for the wolf’s recovery, it remains the guiding document for the species’ recovery. A federal reintroduction program started in 1998 with the very limited goal of creating new wild populations by 2006 with at least 100 individuals and 18 breeding pairs; the current single population, in double the time of that modest goal, has barely reached 80 individuals with only five breeding pairs. Not only that, but the FWS’s management of the species actually ends up negatively affecting their population since the strict limitation of their range keeps the population small, encourages inbreeding (and therefore threatens the biological diversity that is necessary to growing healthy wild populations), and allows people to kill wolves that take their livestock instead of promoting nonlethal options. So it is unsurprising that in 2010 the FWS admitted that the Mexican gray wolf is still in serious danger.
The time to make a plan for getting Mexican gray wolves on the road to recovery is now. Thank the Center for Biological Diversity and their fellow plaintiffs for refusing to let the FWS pass again on its obligation to develop a plan to bring these wolves back from the brink of extinction.
Dear Michael Robinson,
I am overjoyed to hear of the lawsuit recently filed on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and its fellow wolf advocates, in order to obtain justice for the Mexican gray wolf. I think it is important to express my support because the voices of hunting lobbies and state officials should not outweigh the desires of the quiet majority who want to see the biodiversity of our country protected.
Thank you for standing up against the Fish and Wildlife Service’s negligence on behalf of the Mexican gray wolf. Thank you for taking legal action to ensure that the FWS is no longer able to shirk its obligation to these wolves. I hope that this case sets a precedent for forcing the FWS to follow through on its responsibilities to create a scientific plan with objective recovery criteria for all of the species it lists as endangered.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Marumari via Wikimedia Commons