New Mexico Ends Support For Wolves

Jim Clark/US Fish and Wildlife Service

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


The New Mexico State Game Commission voted yesterday to end cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in its effort to reintroduce the Mexican gray wolf, according to a statement from the Center for Biological Diversity.  The decision might mark a major victory for ranchers and other groups who have strongly opposed the reintroduction program, but wolf proponents argue that the move will damage efforts to facilitate co-existence between wolves and people.

In 1998, 11 captive-bred wolves were released by USFWS on federal land in New Mexico near the Arizona border, in the hope that they would help stabalize an imbalanced ecosystem and revitalize an endangered species. Similar reintroductions had been shown to work elsewhere, but in New Mexico the wolves have fared poorly and, with so many ranches nearby, wolves became a menace to livestock. The battle has raged ever since.

A June 6 letter from wolf advocates to New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez countered that ranchers’ concerns were overblown and warned that the endangered wolf could face extinction without the continued support of the New Mexico Game and Fish Department.

“The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish should be encouraged to continue its successful efforts, which are all the more needed and will be especially challenging during the current drought that makes livestock more vulnerable…. Your leadership can help ensure the survival and recovery of the Mexican gray wolf,” the letter, signed by representatives of CBD, The Sierra Club’s Rio Grande Chapter, the New Mexico Audobon Council, and others, said.

Still, Ed Wehrheim of Americans for Preservation of Western Environment—an anti-wolf activist group composed mostly of ranchers who say wolves hurt their bottom line—lauds the decision as a victory for his cause and said it reflects the will of most New Mexican ranchers.

“We’re very happy that they did that,” he said. “We don’t think much of the wolf program down here.” Wehrheim added, however, that the victory is mostly “psychological” and that he wasn’t sure what the practical outcome will be exactly.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate