Perhaps if the Mexican Gray wolf were named something different, the Trump administration would not have a vendetta against it. As it is, the majestic mammal may go extinct — and ironically, it’s due to the administration’s long-awaited recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves.
The Mexican gray wolf is the most endangered mammal species in North America. Sadly, there are just 100 left in the wild. Because the wolf’s numbers are low, environmentalists have been pressuring politicians in recent years to pass an improved recovery plan. Though the Trump administration recently passed one, it falls short — in several huge ways.
- It fails to establish the additional population centers and limits wolves to insufficient habitat with low recovery potential
- The plan fails to ensure conservation and enhancement of genetic diversity to prevent inbreeding
- It does not provide sufficient releases of wolves into the wild
- It relies excessively on Mexico for recovery, where habitat is unpromising
As Heidi McIntosh, an attorney with the nonprofit environmental legal organization Earthjustice, said: ”It’s a ‘recovery plan’ in name only. Without additional habitat and greater genetic diversity, the wolves will continue to teeter on the brink of extinction. The plan provides none of these essential needs.”
To environmentalists’ dismay, the Trump administration refused to consider the advice of tens of thousands of people who weighed in on the plan. Those who spoke out about the need to protect the Mexican Gray wolf included business owners, scientists and concerned citizens. Despite their input, the plan was passed. How is that for democracy?
Bryan Bird, Southwest director for Defenders of Wildlife isn’t the only activist upset with the development. However, he spoke for many when he stated: “Lobos waited decades for a plan to save them, only to be given one that does not guarantee recovery. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had the opportunity to build a plan on a foundation of science and conservation, but instead decided to let politics rule.”
Bird’s sentiments echoed those of David Parsons, a former Mexican wolf recovery coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service. “The Fish and Wildlife Service published over 250 pages of supporting ‘scientific’ justification, used a sophisticated model to predict extinction probabilities, then tossed the science aside and asked the states how many wolves they would tolerate with no scientific justification whatsoever,” said Parsons. “Using the states’ arbitrary upper limit as a population cap in the population viability model and forcing additional recovery needs to Mexico, the plan will guarantee that from now to eternity no more than a running average of 325 Mexican wolves will ever be allowed to exist in the entire U.S. Southwest. This plan is a disgraceful sham.”
Outrage is justified, as the Mexican gray wolf nearly went extinct in the mid-20th century due to human persecution. The remaining wild wolves descended from just seven individuals that were captured and placed into a captive breeding program before the species was exterminated from the wild.
At the end of the day, humans are responsible for the present state of environmental degradation. Because of this, humans are the only ones who can clean up the mess. If those in government do not prioritize the planet we collectively share, citizens will be forced to revolt and create their own systems which serve the greater good — not just a select few.
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IMAGE CREDIT: Copyright: rvenitsa / 123RF Stock Photo