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WildEarth Guardians applauds prosecution of wolf killers, calls for more frequent charges

Date
September 28, 2018
Contact
Christopher Smith, (505) 395-6177, csmith@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release
Wildlife
WildEarth Guardians commends the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its thorough investigation of last December’s intentional killing of a critically endangered Mexican gray wolf in Arizona and the Department of Justice for charging the men responsible for the killing.

“Real investigations, real prosecutions, and real penalties are the only way to stop lobo killings,” said Christopher Smith, southern Rockies wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “This case is clear-cut and it needs to end with serious consequences.”

The intentional killing of f1675 on December 5th is one of many wolf killings, the vast majority of which do not result in prosecution. When prosecutions do occur, penalties often compare to a slap on the wrist.

This May, Craig Thiessen, a public lands grazing permittee in New Mexico, plead guilty to beating to death a juvenile Mexican gray wolf. He was ordered to pay a meager $2,300 to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program and placed on probation for one year. In June, 30 conservation and animal welfare groups asked the U.S. Forest Service to cancel Thiessen’s permit. There has been no response to this request. The last Mexican wolf killing prosecution before Thiessen’s was in September of 2011.

The Department of Justice should uphold the law and send a message by levying the highest possible penalties on these criminals: $50,000 and/or a year in prison. “Until these killings are taken seriously, Mexican gray wolves will continue to face human-caused mortalities—the greatest threat to their survival and recovery,” said Smith. “As long as wolf killings are treated lightly and dangerous traps are allowed across wolf habitat in New Mexico, lobo recovery will continue to be slow and perilous.” At last count, only 114 Mexican wolves were alive in the wild of the U.S. Already, there have been eight documented wolf mortalities in 2018.

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