Arizona GFD Reviewing Feds’ Draft Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan

Mexican Wolf
Mexican Wolf

Arizona Game and Fish DepartmentPHOENIX, Ariz. -( The Arizona Game and Fish Department is reviewing the draft Mexican wolf recovery plan released June 29 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Although the plan appears to address the substance of AZGFD’s lawsuit filed in June 2015, Department scientists are continuing to evaluate the plan in detail before submitting formal comments by the Aug. 29 comment deadline.

The draft plan outlines several key strategic acknowledgements to ensure the success of Mexican wolf reintroduction, including the recognition of Interstate 40 in Arizona and New Mexico as the appropriate northern boundary for recovery encompassing all of this wolf’s historical range, as well as recognition of the critical role Mexico plays in any recovery effort within the U.S.

“This science-based plan provides a description of the Mexican wolf’s historical range to ensure proper genetic management between Mexican wolves and Canadian gray wolves that were transplanted into the northern Rocky Mountains, which are prominent in areas north of I-40,” said Jim deVos, assistant director for wildlife management for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “This affords agencies invested in wolf recovery a pathway toward preserving and protecting the Mexican wolf from genetic swamping that would jeopardize this uniquely smaller subspecies.”

Arizona Game and Fish’s involvement in Mexican wolf conservation began in the mid-1980s. Since that time, the Department has spent more than $7 million on wolf recovery in the state and has been the predominant on-the-ground presence working to manage Mexican wolves.

Genetic viability has been one of the most controversial elements of Mexican wolf recovery.

“The Department is analyzing the plan, which appears to be developed on the best available science by Dr. Philip S. Miller, a world-renowned population viability analysis expert,” said deVos. “Based on Dr. Miller’s analyses, the plan includes explicit science-based numbers of wolf releases required to maintain a genetically diverse Mexican wolf population.”

DeVos also noted that the draft plan outlines criteria for formally delisting and down-listing the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies, and that it also formally recognizes the key role Mexico plays in any recovery effort, given that 90 percent of Mexican wolf historical habitat is within Mexico.

“In total, the plan provides management options and direction to future delisting of Mexican wolves as an endangered subspecies and addresses weaknesses in the 1982 recovery plan,” said deVos. “We will work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies to ensure the success of wolf recovery efforts, in balance with other elements of the ecosystem, wildlife and the people who live, work and recreate on this landscape.”

In June 2015, AZGFD filed a lawsuit against the secretary of the Department of Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service seeking an updated recovery plan – a requirement of the Endangered Species Act, the first update since the current plan was published in 1982.

In April 2016, the Service signed a settlement agreement with AZGFD and other parties to complete a final revised Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan by the end of November 2017.

The public is invited to submit written comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the draft plan, either electronically (go to and enter the docket number FWS-R2-ES-2017-0036 in the search bar), or by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R4-ES-2017-0036, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803. Comments must be received on or before Aug. 29, 2017.

To view the draft recovery plan and other documents, visit their website.

The Service also will hold two public meetings in Arizona to provide an opportunity for citizens to learn about the revised Mexican wolf recovery plan and to provide written comments. The dates and times of these information meetings are:

  • Tuesday, July 18, 6-9 p.m., Flagstaff, Northern Arizona University’s Prochnow Auditorium, South Knowles Drive.
  • Wednesday, July 19, 6-9 p.m., Pinetop, Hon-Dah Resort’s Casino Banquet Hall, 777 AZ-260.

Two additional public meetings will be held in New Mexico: July 20, 6-9 p.m., Truth or Consequences, Ralph Edwards Auditorium, Civic Center, 400 W. Fourth; and July 22, 2-5 p.m., Albuquerque, Crowne Plaza Albuquerque, 1901 University Blvd. NE.

The Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department, White Mountain Apache Tribe, USDA Forest Service, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Wildlife Services, and several participating counties in Arizona.

For more information on Mexican wolves, visit their website.

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Wild Bill

@MWW, What are these vague and unexplained crimes that you allege. Are you saying that federal employees violated state law?

joe martin

Wild Bill, I’m with you. I cannot image a Federal employee ever doing anything illegal, immoral or unethical; it just cannot happen. They are all such fine upstanding individuals and so honest, productive and efficient. What would we do without them to tell us how to live our lives and serve as such shining examples?

Wild Bill

, Don’t be too quick to agree with me. MWW has made some pretty vague allegations, and I want to get a clearer statement of his accusations.

Herman Gothe

United Nations rewilding project along with agenda 2030 going strong and the American people are asleep at the wheel.

Wild Bill

Trump could send the entire UN packing by revoking their diplomatic visas. Russia just sent nearly three hundred U.S. diplomats out of Russia. It can be done.

Mexican Wolf Whistleblower

I volunteered to serve in the Army and I raised my right hand and swore to protect the Constitution. When I got out I studied wildlife management. I went to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Mexican wolf project and worked there for three years. I personally witnessed Federal agents, led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 2 Office of Law Enforcement, commit crimes against the people of the Mexican wolf recovery area in both AZ and NM. I reported these crimes, FWS covered them up. I reported these crimes to the U.S. Department… Read more »

joe martin

Good luck, seriously. I witnessed individuals in the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) in New Mexico commit violations of the law and their own regulations for years and nothing was ever done about it. I saw citizens targeted and their lives ruined by the BLM for not following “orders”, not regulations or the law, but arbitrary “orders” from individual BLM employees which would benefit them personally and had nothing to do with regulations. I watched local and state managers take bribes in cash, favors and materials from industry and individuals and saw those managers destroy public lands and private property… Read more »

Mexican Wolf Whistleblower

Joe- Thank you for your words of encouragement. Simply put, I will not allow these crimes to go unpunished and this cover-up to go on. Even if it leads to my own demise, I will not stop until these crimes are investigated. I would have given my life in the military to protect our rights and freedoms and I have all but given it up to pursue justice in this case. Failure is not an option. Wild Bill- Thank you for your interest. My complaint to the Dept. of Interior Inspector General took 15 pages to describe so I cannot… Read more »