May 4, 2018 – Protecting Ranchers from the Mexican Gray Wolf
What is the problem?
The ESA gave the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) the authority to classify and manage vulnerable and endangered species, such as the Mexican gray wolf. In 1977, the FWS began a recovery program for the Mexican gray wolf, and its efforts have resulted in an increase of the wolf population to naturally sustainable levels. However, at the behest of radical environmentalist groups the agency has continued to use the wolf as an excuse to limit use of public lands. On February 17, 2015, the FWS issued a new rule to expand the repopulation program and to keep the wolf’s endangered status.
Additionally, many ranchers across Arizona and the Southwest are facing burdensome ESA regulations. This wolf tends to cross into private property when roaming around. However, landowners are prohibited under the ESA to engage the wolf, despite any threat the pack may pose to their land or the safety of their livestock.
What is the Mexican gray wolf?
The Mexican gray wolf is a subspecies of the gray wolf that was listed as an endangered species in 1976 under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The population is primarily found in the southwestern United States, including Arizona. Although the wolf faced near-extinction in the late 1970s, recent data shows that its population has seen steady growth.
What am I doing about it?
I joined my Western Caucus colleagues in a letter to the House Appropriations Committee to include language in the fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill to delist the gray wolf as an endangered species. It’s time we restore some sanity to the system by balancing Mexican gray wolf protections with farmers and ranchers’ right to protect their lands. I am hopeful that the Committee will include this language in the bill, and urge my colleagues to support this measure.
What are they saying?
“ The Mexican Wolf program is a failed science experiment that is cruel to the wolves with constant poking, prodding, and harassment by federal officials while ranch families are left dealing with a program with no certainties and ever changing rules all driven by an outdated Endangered Species Act.” – Patrick A. Bray, Executive Vice President, Arizona Cattlemen's Association