If a rider on an appropriations bill the US House passed on July 14 sticks, it’ll effectively remove the Mexican wolf from the Endangered Species list. Rep. Steve Pearce, a Republican from Las Cruces, proposed the amendment, which states that none of the funds allocated for the next fiscal year to the US Fish and Wildlife Service can be used to treat Mexican wolves as endangered or threatened and that no funds can be used to implement a recovery plan outside the historic range of the Mexican wolf.
In a press statement, Pearce referenced a recent report from the inspector general that substantiated management complaints from Catron County’s Board of Commissioners about the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program, in the hands of a former coordinator of the Interagency Field Team. Their investigation found the Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees the recovery program, had failed to effectively document some nuisance complaints, communicate with livestock owners and handle livestock depredations and compensation. The report also found the agency was aware of the concerns and had taken steps to address the problems.
“FWS has consistently proven its inability to manage the Mexican Wolf program in New Mexico. This is clear in the recent Inspector General report substantiating claims from Catron County that those at the top levels of the program at FWS tolerated a culture of lies, falsification, mismanagement, and manipulation of scientific data, ultimately at the cost of public trust and species recovery,” Pearce said in a press release; he declared it time to give management of the program back to the states.
Even as it has rebuffed the introduction of captive-born pups into New Mexico’s wild wolf population, the state Department of Game and Fish has expressed an interest in increasing Mexican wolf numbers to allow for hunting them again.