EDITORIAL FROM PATRICK STOCKS
I am writing in response to an Aug. 15 guest editorial published in The Independent by Jim Ammons, chairman of the Arizona Game and Fish Dept., concerning the Mexican Gray wold recovery plan. He indicated that originally, there were seven wolves left. That was in 1998. Now there are approximately 113. That does indicate progress but marginal progress at best. To a large extent, the increase can be attributed to the Endangered Species Act and locally, the work of the AZGF.
Unfortunately, even with the ESA, recovery has been slow due to poaching and the failure of states to release wolves. And, the ESA is currently under attack.
According to David Parsons, former Wolf Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are plans to hand over to states the management of wolves. The last time states managed wolf recovery their numbers decreased by 24 percent.
I believe this is not a wolf problem but a rancher problem. Ranchers have lobbyists and wolves do not. Wolves were removed via a bounty system, at taxpayer expense, to the point there were seven left. Currently, a cow and a calf are allowed to graze on public land for a year for $2.36. Unfortunately, this is about money.
Wolves are critical beneficial components of our ecosystem. Cows are not. This is setup for failure. If cows die, wolves die. Get the cows off of public land, our land, where the wolves are. They belong there. These issues need to be considered.