Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No wonder there is such a problem with Mexican wolf recovery!

Apparently, not even the US Fish and Wildlife Service understands the undue influence the livestock industry is wielding in the Mexican wolf reintroduction area! Last weekend, there was an informative piece in the LA Times about the overall recovery effort and the current dire straits the wolf is in.
Wildlife managers -- following the program's often punitive rules -- have contributed to the deaths of more than 25 wolves through shooting, trapping, sedating, penning and relocating the notoriously skittish animals.
It goes on to describe why these "recovering" animals are being removed: to appease the livestock operators with public lands' allotments in the recovery area. But Benjamin Tuggle, the Southwest regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Albuquerque, doesn't seem to understand the basic limits of the arrangement:
"You've got these diametrically opposed forces: This predator that has a right to be in this space, and the other is this prey base, cattle, that has a right to be in this space," he said.
Um, yeah, except that the ranchers don't have any "rights" on these national forest lands. They are permitted to graze. Not entitled, not guaranteed. If Tuggle didn't know this already, he does now. Western Watersheds Project wrote him a letter, explaining his misconceptions and identifying ways out of the quagmire. Because, the thing is, if the US Fish and Wildlife Service keeps treating the ranchers like they own the place, the wolves don't stand a chance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tuggle has been in the Southwest for over three years. You'd think that he might have learned the basic facts of public lands grazing by now.

The real question comes down to this: Is he really that ignorant, or is he simply parroting the PR line of his good buddies in the livestock industry?