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As Prop 114’s promise of paws on the ground draws closer, we checked in with residents all over Colorado to see how they were feeling about having wolves in the wilds near where they live. It was evident from our conversations they are excited about the return of wolves.

When asked about what seeing a wolf in Colorado would mean to them, one resident from Salida expressed, “I’ve cherished every wolf sighting I’ve ever had, and seeing one in Colorado would be fantastic.” Another resident from Durango added that “Having wolves in Colorado would be amazing. Even just to hear them howl. It’s an experience like no other.”

The return of wolves to the state will not only give residents an amazing new wildlife viewing opportunity, but wolves will benefit the entire ecosystem. As one resident said, “They’re wonderful, majestic animals in their own right. There’s a profound sense of righting an ecological wrong when wolves return to an area they’ve historically inhabited.”

And the residents we spoke with agree that management of the species should first and foremost focus on preventative, non-lethal solutions. A Salida resident explained that “we have so many great tools for preventing conflict before it occurs—from fladry to noisemakers, and range riders…there are just so many great tried and true techniques for preventing conflict.” Non-lethal methods are also shown to be more effective in managing wolf-livestock conflicts, while killing wolves can do more harm than good, actually increasing instances of conflict instead of reducing them.

When it comes to a potential recreational wolf-hunt, residents are adamant one should never be permitted. Rocky Smith, from Denver, offered, “There’s no reason to hunt wolves. We’re bringing them back, there’s no reason to kill them.” Adding to that, Tom Zieber from Gunnison said he doesn’t believe we need recreational wolf killing or hunting saying, “It’s just really killing for the sake of killing.”

As for what they’d like to see happen for wolves in Colorado, Hailey Hawkins from Durango, conveyed that she “would like to see wolves be free, and go wherever they want, and settle wherever they want. To not be restricted to certain parts of the state.”  She wants them “to have the freedom to go where they want without the invisible borders that they can’t see or adhere to, that we arbitrarily create.” And others agree with Hailey. Tom’s opinion is that “Wolves should be allowed wherever in the state that there is suitable habitat and prey base, not just the Western Slope.”

Rocky wants fellow residents to know that “wolves belong here and they’re an important part of the ecosystem, and we need to learn to live with them.” Hailey adds that residents should know that “this is something that has already been done before and we can do it here. You can still go camping, you can still go hiking, and in fact, your experience will be even more enriched with wolves being there.”

After speaking with residents from all over the state, there is a profound sense of hope and excitement for the return of wolves. In a state where wild places bring a lot of value to a lot of people, wolves are just another tremendous addition to a robust ecosystem. It’s Tom Zieber’s hope that as the wolf population is restored to the state, having respect for wolves will bring about respect for all our other native species, and springboard a change that better exemplifies the humane treatment of all wildlife.

For more information, and to see what actions you can take to make Colorado wolf reintroduction a success, check out this Colorado wolf resource page.

Below are photos of various landscapes in Colorado that are near our interviewees’ locations. After the photos, you’ll see a map from our Colorado Wolf Restoration Plan, which identifies 12 proposed wolf habitat zones. The letters on that map correspond with the letters provided in each photo caption.

Hermosa Creek Wilderness, San Juan National Forest (“K” on map below). Photo by John Sowell.

 

Holy Cross and Hunter-Frying Pan Wilderness areas, White River National Forest (“E” on map below). Photo by Frank Kovalchek.

 

Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, White River and Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests (“F” on map below). Photo by Sarowen.

 

West Elk Wilderness, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests (“H” on map below). Photo by John Sowell.

 

West Elk Wilderness, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests (“H” on map below). Photo by John Sowell.

 

The large blue-green tracts represent suitable wolf habitat in zones 450 km2 and larger. The 12 proposed wolf habitat zones, along with the location of the North Park pack (“NP”) are marked. Note that the Southern Ute Reservation in SW Colorado qualifies as suitable wolf habitat. We have removed the area from consideration for reintroductions because, as a sovereign nation, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe has expressed opposition to having wolves reintroduced there.

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Since the passage of Proposition 114, Coloradans have been eagerly awaiting the return of wolves to the state. However, the formal process led by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has minimized meaningful public input, and instead, uplifted the voices of ranchers, outfitters, trappers, and hunters over all others. This has unfolded in reports and recommendations by the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) and Technical Working Group (TWG) that are likely to limit the possibilities of wolves on the Colorado landscape.

Discussions in the SAG, in particular, have focused on the negative impacts of wolves, while ignoring the multitude of positive ones. The lack of transparency with the prohibition of video and audio recordings and no live streaming of meetings, severely limits the ability of the Colorado public to attend and participate in these meetings. This process is heading in a direction that raises doubts about the success of the wolf reintroduction, and puts the letter and spirit of Proposition 114 behind the concerns of special interest groups.

WildEarth Guardians has not, and will not, sit idle while the voices of the majority of Coloradans who voted for wolves to return to the state are lost to the process. Instead, Guardians has put forth an alternative plan for the CPW Commission to consider—a pro-wolf plan. Our “Colorado Wolf Restoration Plan” is ecologically focused, emphasizing the return of healthy and sustainable populations of wolves to the landscape.

Our plan ensures that wolves are restored throughout suitable habitat in western Colorado, tracks with the best available science, requires proactive non-lethal coexistence strategies, explains why Mexican gray wolves belong in the southern mountains of the state, and is clear that recreational wolf hunting should NEVER happen in Colorado. These are the elements that represent the intent of Proposition 114 and the millions of Coloradans who voted for it.

It is our hope at Guardians that the CPW Commission takes the recommendations from our Colorado Wolf Restoration Plan and implements a thoughtful, compassionate, and science based approach to the Colorado wolf reintroduction. For more information, and to see what actions you can take to make Colorado wolf reintroduction a success, check out this Colorado wolf resource page.

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Guardians has a $50,000 matching gift challenge to help to fund our legal work. Donate today to support Marla and our legal team—and your donation will be DOUBLED!

WildEarth Guardians Staff Attorney Marla Fox has made a career out of defending Western public lands and the vast array of native wildlife that call these lands home, but her origins as an environmental lawyer are surprisingly tropical.

As a biology and Spanish major in college, Fox traveled to Costa Rica to study the nest predation rates of olive ridley sea turtles.

“I did a report and some scientific conferences, and all the feedback was, ‘You’re too focused on the social side of things. You should just focus on the science,’” Fox says. “I realized protecting the sea turtles was the part that I cared about—not documenting their demise. That’s when I started thinking about environmental advocacy.”

She applied to Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, for its highly rated environmental law program and planned to move back to her native Minnesota once she received her degree. Instead, she fell in love with the incredible natural beauty of her new home and with its public lands in particular.

After graduation and three years’ work on Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act citizen suit enforcement with the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, a small nonprofit in Portland, Fox received a fortuitous call from the then-wildlife program director at WildEarth Guardians with a job opportunity centered on protecting the same public lands that so captivated her. She signed on as Guardians’ rewilding attorney in 2015 and hasn’t looked back.

Marla attended law school in Portland, Oregon and quickly fell in love with the public lands of the Pacific Northwest.

Accentuating the positive

As rewilding attorney and now as Guardians’ staff attorney, Fox often faces off against the U.S. Forest Service, litigating against logging, roadbuilding, and off-road recreation plans that would be catastrophic for vulnerable wildlands and imperiled species.

When she observes the Forest Service ignoring science and the public will for the umpteenth time—an experience she likens to “pounding her head against the wall”—she draws from her inner well of positivity. Thus fortified, she resumes her relentless pursuit of justice.

“Even though I’m on the litigation side, where things can be negative and harsh, my positive attitude helps me continue on,” she says.

So do resounding legal victories like her recent win for northwest Montana’s Flathead National Forest, in which she challenged its forest plan. Forest plans provide a blueprint for decades of Forest Service operations and are notoriously difficult to dispute in court. Fox’s challenge forces the Forest Service to rethink its blueprint for devastating logging and roadbuilding schemes in grizzly bear habitat.

The Flathead isn’t the only landscape benefitting from Fox’s expertise. In the past few years alone, she’s safeguarded the snow-drenched Boise and Payette national forests in Idaho and the Teton Division of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming from over-snow vehicles rampaging through lynx and wolverine habitat, protected the ponderosa pine groves of central Oregon’s Ochoco National Forest from off-highway vehicles, and abolished ATV use on 117 miles of the Colville National Forest in northeastern Washington state.

Fox credits her ability to achieve success to the so-called “Minnesota nice” side of her personality. “I’ve been told, ‘Oh, Marla is so sweet,’” she jokes. “You can say things really nicely, but the words coming out reveal a harsh legal truth.”

Marla Fox (second from left) with the WildEarth Guardians crew outside the federal courthouse in Missoula, Montana right after Fox’s successful legal argument against the Flathead National Forest’s forest plan.

A foundation of collaboration

Fox is accustomed to taking matters into her own hands. Example no. 1: she spent her honeymoon (yes, her honeymoon) visiting stakeholders and public lands involved in a couple of Guardians projects in Idaho. Example no. 2: she applied for Guardians’ staff attorney position equipped with five cases she was already prepared to file for the organization.

At the same time, Fox is more than willing to join forces with others—something that is part and parcel of nearly all her litigation. Though “corralling all the different voices” of various groups can sometimes present a challenge, Fox enjoys working collaboratively. “When you have a whole coalition of groups with varied interests—some that are very focused on super-local impacts, and others that are national groups focused on broader issues—it tells a much better story to the court. And it makes for stronger cases in the long run,” she says.

Her lawsuit on the Rico-West Dolores area of Colorado’s San Juan National Forest features one such diverse coalition: environmental organizations, hunters, quiet recreationalists, a hot springs resort, and the owner of a backcountry lodge all banding together to protest motorized use that was driving out elk and decimating alpine terrain (the case, which has been fully briefed for a whopping three years, still awaits judgment).

Working alongside those with different backgrounds and perspectives offers Fox a deeper understanding of the issues at hand. “What I love in talking to people who are ‘boots on the ground’ is that they can give you those details that are compelling, that I could never get from sitting in front of the computer,” she says. “It’s extremely valuable, and it is also a reminder that the work is having an impact not just on land and wildlife, but also on people.”

WildEarth Guardians staff attorney Marla Fox is a force for nature.

Ramming it home

Fox’s next venture, if successful, looks to have a resounding impact on people, forests, and vulnerable species. Along with several other environmental groups, Guardians recently challenged the Forest Service’s Black Ram Project on northwest Montana’s Kootenai National Forest. The project would clearcut thousands of acres of old-growth forest in the Yaak Valley, home to an imperiled population of grizzly bears. To add insult to injury, the Forest Service authorized the project just weeks after the Biden administration proclaimed that “strengthening America’s forests, which are home to cherished expanses of mature and old-growth forests on Federal lands, is critical to the health, prosperity, and resilience of our communities.”

It’s a sentiment the Forest Service, as a government agency, ought to take to heart. And when it does not, we can rely on Fox, armed with her trademark blend of positivity and “Minnesota nice,” to remind it of its duty to protect our national forests.

Guardians has a $50,000 matching gift challenge to help to fund our legal work. Donate today to support Marla and our legal team—and your donation will be DOUBLED!

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The U.S. Air Force wants to modify 10 Military Operations Areas (MOAs) that stretch across southern Arizona and southwest New Mexico. We can’t let this military expansion despoil some of America’s wildest country.

The proposal would authorize low-level fighter jet maneuvers and supersonic flights that cause sonic booms above rural and Tribal communities, some of the Southwest’s most fragile sky-island ecosystems, and beloved wilderness areas and national monuments.

The Air Force also wants to permit dropping of flares at lower altitudes, increasing the risk of human-caused wildfires across landscapes already experiencing severe drought. Additionally, the proposal would allow release of aluminum-coated silica “chaff” over public lands, polluting the environment.

Guardians needs your help to stop these proposed actions before fighter jet condensation trails hit the skies. Public comments are being accepted through June 3. You can submit your comments here.

Use these talking points below as a guide for writing your comments. But to make the biggest impact, please use your own voice to convey that the proposed action to optimize ten existing MOAs by the Air Force lacks sufficiently detailed information and as such the Air Force must explain how they will do the following:

  • Evaluate the impacts of extreme noise from low-level and supersonic training on communities (including potential for damage to structures), outdoor recreation economies, livestock, and wildlife (including threatened and endangered species).
  • Assess the wildfire risk from the use of flares at lower elevations and potential military aircraft crashes, develop mitigation measures to reduce the risks, develop realistic plans for fighting a flare-induced or crash-induced fire, and express how public safety will be ensured.
  • Fully assess contamination of air, land, and water from aircraft emissions and release of chaff and flares.
  • Evaluate the environmental justice impacts of this proposal on communities of color and low-income communities, including the San Carlos and White Mountain Apache Tribes, Tohono O’odham Nation, and Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Furthermore, consultation with these Tribes must occur.
  • Provide an analysis of the cumulative impacts of these airspace modifications to communities and wildlife and a plan for how impacts will be mitigated.

This proposal would impact dozens of rural communities, four Tribes, and millions of acres of public lands that sustain ecosystems, water quality, wildlife, and public recreation. So please click here to submit your comments and oppose the Air Force’s plans to despoil the quiet and wildness that you hold dear.

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Guardians is a proud supporter of the inaugural Healthy Public Lands Conference, which will be held June 1-3 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The conference will offer opportunities to learn more about the current state of public lands in the American West; better understand the laws, regulations, and policies that guide public lands management; and contribute to a collective vision for managing public lands that prioritizes healthy watersheds and ecosystems rather than livestock production.

A partial list of panel topics for the first two days of the conference include Indigenous perspectives on public lands and traditional ecological knowledge, recent science on the impacts of grazing to western ecosystems, the ongoing aridification or “great drying” of the interior West that is happening because of climate change, and the connection between public lands extremists and the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Keynote speakers and panelists are still being finalized, so stay tuned.

There will also be experiential learning, with the third day of the conference devoted to a field trip to a public lands grazing allotment. Attendees will learn how to quantitatively assess the health of public lands with active grazing allotments, how to report those findings to Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service staff, and how to best participate in federal land management decision-making.

Conference sponsors want this event to be available to everyone and are offering sliding scale registration rates. To learn more and to register, click here.

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We’re in a bit of a mood today…

First, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of a new coalition in Nevada that will end gruesome wildlife-killing contests and cruel trapping on public lands. Silver State Wildlife will harness the power of regional and Nevada-based groups and activists to drag wildlife policies into the 21st century with a healthy dose of science, ethics, and common sense.

The Silver State is a nexus between amazing wildlife, biodiversity, and public lands—and archaic wildlife policy that prioritizes killing over conservation. Nevada’s 96-hour trap check window is by far the longest and cruelest in the American West. This coalition will change that and more.

A Nevada family hiking with their children recently found—and freed—this trapped fox. The Nevada Department of Wildlife later fined them $700. Photo by Bobby Vaske.

Please visit our website and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

But did I mention we’re in a mood?

The Nevada Department of Wildlife just fined a family of hikers who freed the suffering fox pictured above from a leghold trap. Nevada trappers pressured the department into threatening to arrest the Good Samaritans and fining them over $700!

When people are punished for helping the vulnerable and unprotected, that is wrong. The laws need to change. Coexistence and compassion need to lead. And the exploitation of wildlife needs to be left in the dustbin of history.

Here’s what you can do:

Sign the petition to end public lands trapping in Nevada.

• Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, calling out the Nevada Department of Wildlife for penalizing an act of compassion at the behest of trappers. Please keep your letter under 250 words and submit it to the following papers:

Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas Sun (letters@lasvegassun.com)
Reno Gazette Journal (letters@rgj.com)
Reno News & Review
Nevada Appeal (editor@nevadaappeal.com)
The Nevada Independent (submissions@thenvindy.com)
The Ely Times
Pahrump Valley Times
The Record-Courier (editor@recordcourier.com)
The Humboldt Sun (editorial@winnemuccapublishing.net)
Sierra Nevada Ally (jm@sierranevadaally.org)

Thank you for doing your part to end the war on wildlife in Nevada. And stay tuned for more ways to get involved.

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Guardians and the California Wilderness Coalition have intervened in a lawsuit brought by snowmobiling interests that are challenging the Forest Service’s decision to designate over-snow vehicle (OSV) trails and use areas on the Stanislaus National Forest in California’s Sierra Nevada.

We intervened in the lawsuit because the Forest Service hasn’t properly considered the impacts snowmobiling will have on an isolated remnant population of 18 to 39 Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator), which live within the Stanislaus National Forest in the vicinity of Sonora Pass (elevation 9628’).

Despite its name, the Sierra Nevada red fox can have black, gray or tawny fur (the gray fox, Urocyon cinereoargenteus, is a separate species). Its thick, deep winter coat, longer hind feet, and small toe pads completely covered in winter by dense fur make it well-adapted to the cold and deep snows of Sierra Nevada winters. It’s also smaller than the other nine North American subspecies of red fox—males average about 9.5 lbs and females about 7.5 lbs. The smaller stature could be another adaptation that allows it to travel better atop the snow, or it might simply result from the smaller amount of available prey in the subalpine habitat and high-elevation conifer woodlands in which the fox is found. Rodents and snowshoe hare are the fox’s primary food source. With prey limited at this elevation, so is the fox’s population density: 1 fox per 10 square miles.

Because the Sierra Nevada red fox is solitary, nocturnal and lives at in inhospitable elevation, confirmed sightings are extremely rare. As far back as the 1950s, there were only about two confirmed sightings per year. From 1991 until 2010 there were no confirmed sightings, leading some biologists to believe the fox had gone extinct. In 2015, a Sierra Nevada red fox was seen in Yosemite National Park for the first time in almost a century. With so few sightings, recent studies of the fox have relied on scat and hair samples to estimate its population and range, and much of its presumed behavior is taken from other subspecies.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes the isolated population around Sonora Pass as the Sierra Nevada Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the Sierra Nevada red fox, and in August of 2021 designated the DPS as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The ESA provides protection to imperiled species, but also extends protections to subspecies and “distinct population segments”—a population or group of populations that are both discrete from other populations and significant to the species as a whole.  The Sonora Pass population is one of only two populations known to exist, and the only population to still inhabit its historical range in the Sierra Nevada mountains. These last few foxes are genetically distinct from another larger DPS found in the southern Cascades of far northern California and southern Oregon. Click here for an interactive map, which shows in green just how small of an area the Sierra Nevada red fox DPS inhabits.

When it listed the Sierra Nevada DPS as endangered, the Fish and Wildlife Service recognized the risk of extinction posed by the population’s small size, and hybridization with nonnative foxes.  Additionally, the Fish and Wildlife Service noted the risk posed by coyotes, which Sierra Nevada red foxes generally try to avoid by occupying snowier, higher-elevation habitats.

The Forest Service’s OSV designations will exacerbate the threats to the fox. The Forest Service’s decision included designating a 411-acre off-trail over-snow vehicle “play area” at Sonora Pass, despite evidence snowmobiles and their loud noise can displace wildlife from normal winter habitat, causing the animals to use limited energy reserves to move to other areas that may have less food and shelter.  Snowmobile use can also limit the availability of foxes’ rodent prey in two ways.  First, snowmobile traffic compacts snow, thereby reducing temperature and available oxygen in the spaces between the ground and the bottom of the snowpack, restricting rodents from those areas or lowering their survival.  Second, snowmobile trails provide coyotes easier access into areas that would otherwise be difficult to access due to deep snow, allowing coyotes to prey on rodents that would otherwise be available as prey for the fox.  Coyotes also kill foxes.

Snowmobile advocates claim the Forest Service’s OSV designations are too restrictive. We’ve intervened in their lawsuit for the opposite reason: because the Forest Service made its area and trail designations without considering the harmful effects of snowmobiles on the few remaining Sierra Nevada red foxes on Sonora Pass.

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Speak up for Wolves: Sign the Petition!

The Mexican gray wolf, or lobo, is one of the most endangered carnivores in the world. After lobos were nearly wiped out, reintroduction began in 1998 in remote areas of New Mexico and Arizona. Since then, recovery has been slow and turbulent. In 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) decided that the only wild population of Mexican gray wolves in the U.S. was not essential to the recovery of Mexican gray wolves as a species. Guardians and our allies sued, and in 2018, a U.S. district judge told USFWS to go back to the drawing board to write a new management rule for the lobo. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently seeking comments on that new Mexican wolf management rule. This is our last chance to make sure the agency gets recovery right, so please submit your comment!

Tweet for Lobos!

We’ve assembled eight ready-to-go tweets, complete with inspiring images and a link to the petition. All you have to do is “grab-n-go” to help raise awareness and make a big difference in the defense of the lobos! P.S. These work great on Facebook, too!

Tweet #1
#Wolves keep the Gila wild! Celebrate the 97th anniversary of the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico by urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Gila’s most iconic resident—the critically endangered Mexican #wolf: https://guardiansaction.org/lobos #KeepItWild #StopExtinction

 

Tweet #2

Lobos are essential! Mexican gray #wolves are critical ecosystem influencers in the desert Southwest. They keep prey populations healthy and in balance, protect riparian and aquatic resources, and indicate the health of entire ecosystems. Take action: https://guardiansaction.org/lobos

 

Tweet #3

Humans are the largest obstacle to recovering Mexican #wolves. Along with illegal trapping, poaching and vehicular mortalities, politically motivated ‘recovery’ plans have put lobos in a precarious position. Take action to help get #wolf recovery right: https://guardiansaction.org/lobos

 

Tweet #4

Real recovery for Mexican #wolves would include three distinct, but connected populations. Along with lobos‘ current range in the Greater Gila Bioregion, the Grand Canyon area and the Southern Rockies are identified as prime habitat. Help make it happen: https://guardiansaction.org/lobos

 

Tweet #5

Mexican #wolves in the wild are, on average, as related as brothers and sisters. Though lobos numbers are slowly increasing, the greatest indicator of a successful #wolf recovery effort is the genetic health of the wild population. Support real recovery: https://guardiansaction.org/lobos

 

Tweet #6

To truly recover Mexican gray #wolves a new management rule should be based on the best available science and prioritize enhancing the genetic diversity of the wild lobo population. Raise your voice to make sure Mexican #wolf recovery is done right: https://guardiansaction.org/lobos

 

Tweet #7

Did you know that the Mexican gray wolf, or lobo, is the most endangered gray #wolf in North America and one of the most endangered carnivores in the world? Tell the @USFWS we need a new management rule that will actually recover Mexican #wolves: https://guardiansaction.org/lobos

 

Tweet #8

Almost a century after Aldo Leopold shot a Mexican #wolf in the Gila, only 186 of these wolves exist in the wild. The fierce green fire he saw in the wolf’s eyes still flickers in the #wolves who roam the Greater Gila today. Help support full recovery: https://guardiansaction.org/lobos

 

Amplify YOUR Voice for Wolves: Write a Letter to the Editor

Letters to the editor (LTE) are a great way to share your perspective and encourage others to speak up for lobos. It’s easy, fast, and effective—all you have to do is write your short perspective on why wolves deserve more protections and why the southwest needs more wolves. Be sure to mention that U.S. Fish and Wildlife is taking public comments on wolf management right now and comments can be submitted here: https://guardiansaction.org/lobos

You can submit your letter to your local outlet, or if you are not from the region, submit it to a statewide outlet. Here are direct links to submission forms, note that different papers have different word count limits.

New Mexico

Arizona

LTE Talking Points: Here are key elements of a new lobo management rule that will help truly recover and restore Mexican wolves to their historic range. Please use these talking points as a guideline for drafting your individual LTE, but what’s most important is that your voice and your reason for wanting lobo recovery come through. So, please speak in your own words, but make sure to emphasis the fact that a new Mexican wolf management rule must:

Rescue Mexican wolves from a genetic bottleneck

  • A real genetic rescue entails releasing adult wolf pairs with pups until the wild population of lobos demonstrates adequate genetic diversity improvements. Releasing a set, limited number of wolves into the wild is not a real genetic objective—very few wolves who reach breeding age actually contribute their genes to the wild population.

Allow lobos to roam throughout their historic range

  • Preventing wolves from crossing arbitrary political boundaries like Interstate 40 is unacceptable. In order to truly recover, Mexican wolves need access to suitable habitat in the southern Rockies and the Grand Canyon region.

Designate lobos as “essential”

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the only wild population of Mexican wolves in the U.S. as “non-essential” to the recovery of the species in the wild. Designating this population as “essential” is common sense and crucial to recovery.

Reduce wolf-livestock conflict

  • Wolves are native carnivores highly adapted to the desert southwest. They should not bear the burden of livestock-wildlife conflict when non-native cows are grazing on public lands without protection.

Despite receiving thousands of letters of opposition from many of you, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has so far ignored our call to withdraw a right-of-way across public lands in southwest Utah.

The right-of-way had been granted by the Trump administration, just before it left office, through the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area outside St. George—a rapidly sprawling city. Trump’s BLM did this despite clear instruction from Congress in 2009 that Red Cliffs was designated to conserve and protect the plants and wildlife, including the threatened Mojave desert tortoise, that live where the Mojave Desert, Great Basin, and Colorado Plateau converge.

This past June, Guardians and our partners sued BLM for failing to uphold its responsibilities to manage the Red Cliffs. Construction hasn’t started on the four-lane highway—yet—so the Biden administration still has an opportunity to correct this terrible decision by its predecessors.

To get the Biden administration’s attention, Guardians and allies have created a shared website asking the public to join together to voice its opposition to this destructive and unnecessary highway across fragile desert habitat.

The overall goal is 80,000 signatures. With the help of Guardians’ great supporters, I’m confident we can reach that goal.

Please take action and tell the BLM that the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area is too valuable to destroy with a highway.

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When you think of America’s congressionally designated wilderness areas, what comes to mind?

Intact ecosystems teeming with native wildlife and wild places, where people can find solace and solitude in an increasingly fast-paced world? Or aerial gunning, poisoning, and trapping of native wildlife?

The answer should be clear. But unfortunately, the federal wildlife-killing program known as Wildlife Services uses our tax dollars to deploy neck snares, foothold traps, “cyanide bombs,” and sharpshooters in helicopters to kill hundreds of thousands of native animals on public lands—even in protected wilderness areas.

We have waged a relentless battle to end this war on wildlife. Over the last five years, litigation against the USDA Wildlife Services by WildEarth Guardians and our allies has resulted in legal victories in Idaho, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Washington—each of them curbing the program’s slaughter of native wildlife and increasing its accountability to the public.

But we aren’t resting until we end this rogue program’s war on wildlife once and for all.

Earlier this month, Guardians and Western Watersheds Project launched a lawsuit challenging Wildlife Services’ expansion of aerial gunning, poisoning, trapping, and shooting of bobcats, foxes, coyotes, mountain lions, beavers, and other wildlife on public lands across Nevada, including the potential for killing wildlife on over six million acres of wilderness and wilderness study areas.

With your help and your support, we will have the financial resources we need in 2022 and beyond to defend vulnerable wildlife and ensure that public lands are a refuge for native animals. Can I count on your donation today? As an added bonus, your donation will be matched by another generous supporter.

While society has evolved to understand the importance of native species as a key part of ecosystems and the need for coexistence with wildlife, Wildlife Services continues to rely on antiquated practices from a bygone era when many animals were pushed to the brink of extinction. We demand better from the federal government.

Public lands across the American West are critical for preserving biodiversity and enabling native ecosystems to thrive—they are meant to be wildlife havens, not slaughtering grounds. We must not let the federal government use our tax dollars to slaughter the very creatures that epitomize the wildness of these landscapes.

With your help, we will achieve even more in 2022 to stop Wildlife Services in its tracks! Help fuel our continued fight for coexistence in the new year by making a MATCHED gift of $50, $100, $250 or more to Guardians today.

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