The Arizona Game and Fish Commission today unanimously voted to continue efforts to restore the Mexican wolf in Arizona and to support a Congressional letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s director, Dan Ashe, for the national delisting of grey wolves in the lower 48 states. The letter was sent by Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative Cynthia Loomis, while the Service reviews the recovery status of grey wolves nationwide and the species’ potential delisting.
The letter expresses a need to transfer wolf management to the states to meet the needs of each state and the wolves residing within that state’s boundaries.
The Commission believes that there is adequate science indicating the grey wolf has been recovered nationally, but acknowledges that the Mexican wolf still faces challenges. The Commission believes that by developing a state wolf recovery plan, the Arizona Game and Fish Department will have more flexibility to make management decisions that benefit wolves, other wildlife populations and Arizona communities.
The annual year-end survey for 2012 counted at least 75 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico, which represented a nearly 30 percent increase of the population from 2011‘s count of 58 wolves. It is important to note that the success of any repatriation effort stems from wild-born wolves bearing wild-born pups, as is currently happening with the Mexican wolf population in Arizona.
Image courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department