The Arizona Game and Fish Commission (Commission) voted unanimously on Sept. 6, 2013 to pass a resolution requesting that the Department of Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) hold at least one public meeting in Arizona as part of the scoping hearings on the expansion of Mexican wolf conservation.
Currently, the Service has proposed to hold public meetings on the proposed rule to delist gray wolves and reclassify the Mexican wolf only in Washington, D.C., Sacramento, Calif. and Albuquerque, N.M., and not in Arizona, one of the two states most directly affected by Mexican wolves and most involved in on-the-ground management of the population.
The department, in addition to other interested stakeholders, requested this week that at least one public hearing be held in an Arizona community that is geographically located within the current Mexican wolf experimental population area.
To view the resolution and the Commission’s request letter to the federal agencies, visit www.azgfd.gov/wolf.
The Service recently announced a 45-day extension to the comment period for both the proposed revision to the Mexican wolf’s 10(j) nonessential experimental population rule and the proposed rule to delist gray wolves in the U.S. with an accompanying proposal to list the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies of gray wolf.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department will be submitting comments on both proposed rules. More information on the comment period extension, proposed rules and how to submit comments to the Service is available at www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073 and Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056.
The new deadline for public comment on both of these proposed rules is Oct. 28, 2013.
The Mexican wolf reintroduction program began in 1998. The 2012 year-end population count showed a minimum of 75 wolves roaming Arizona and New Mexico, up from 58 wolves in 2011.
Logo courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department