Despite opposition from the New Mexico Game and Fish Department and NM governor Susana Martinez, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is continuing plans to release additional Mexican gray wolves into the wilds of southwestern New Mexico in 2016.
Mexican gray wolves have been released into the wild by the USFWS in small numbers since 1998. New Mexico Game and Fish Department Director Alexandra Sandoval refused in August to issue a permit for the release of further animals, stating that the USFWS did not provide sufficient information concerning the effect of the release on local deer and elk populations, and citing concerns from ranchers about wolf predation on livestock. The USFWS appealed the decision, but the New Mexico State Game Commission, whose members are appointed by the Republican governor, unanimously rejected the appeal at a meeting on September 29.
After the appeal meeting, Sherry Barrett, Mexican Wolf Coordinator for the USFWS, provided the Albuquerque Journal with a written statement indicating that, while it is USFWS policy to comply with state permit requirements, it retains as an option the release of wolves without New Mexico’s permission.
The USFWS has not yet publicly announced firm plans for an upcoming release, but sent an internal memo about its decision Wednesday to members of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team.
The original article can be found here.