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News

New Mexico Wild Applauds Protecting Special Areas within Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

New Mexico Wild applauds protecting special areas within

Río Grande del Norte National Monument

Congressman Ben Ray Lujàn introduces bill to protect wilderness

Contact: Mark Allison, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 505-239-0906

TAOS, NM (April 24, 2018) – New Mexico Wild joined a broad coalition today applauding the introduction of the Cerros del Norte Conservation Act in the House of Representatives. The legislation would provide extra protection for special areas contained within the Río Grande del Norte National Monu­ment by designating two wilderness areas – Ute Mountain (Cerro del Yuta) and San Antonio Mountain (Río San Antonio). Congressman Ben Ray Lujan introduced the bill. An identical bill introduced by Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall passed the Senate in December.

A poll conducted by Third Eye Strategies in 2016 found that ninety-three percent of registered voters in Taos County believe that wilderness is important to them. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed believe it is important for public lands to be preserved for future generations.

Designated in 2013, Río Grande del Norte National Monu­ment continues to enjoy overwhelming community support, including the backing of business owners, sportsmen, tribal leaders, land grant heirs, local elected officials, and grazing permittees.

During last year’s review of national monuments by the Department of Interior, New Mexico had the most comments submitted per capita of any state.   Nearly ninety eight percent of the comments received for Rio Grande del Norte opposed the executive order and wanted the monument to remain as is. President Trump has not made a final decision on the status of the monument and it remains in jeopardy. New Mexico Wild previously announced that it would take legal action in the event there was any harm done to the monument. 

“The current attempts by the Trump administration to abolish, shrink, and harm our national monuments underscores the unique permanent protections that Wilderness designation affords our most special public lands,” said Mark Allison, Executive Director of New Mexico Wild. “New Mexicans can be proud that the idea of wilderness protection was born here long ago and lives on today. On behalf of our thousands of members and supporters, we express our deep thanks and appreciation to Congressman Lujan for this gift to our future.”

The proposed wilderness areas within the national monument serve as one of the world’s great avian migratory routes. It is also home to wildlife, including bear, pronghorn and elk. The legislation would also safeguard world-class recreation opportunities already enjoyed within the national monument, such as hiking, hunting, and fishing.

The two proposed wil­derness areas in the Cerros del Norte Conservation Act will comprise 21,420 acres of the 243,140-acre national monument northwest of Taos, New Mexico.

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2018 Wolf Stamp Contest Results

2018 Wolf Stamp Contest Results

This year's New Mexico Wild Wolf Stamp competition once again drew amazing entries from artists who depicted this beloved endangered animal in various media ranging from paint to photography. The winning artist is Lobo Reincarnated Artist Nayana, who currently lives in Australia and was inspired to paint the Mexican gray wolf during a visit to New Mexico. Thanks to all the talented artists who made this year's selection a difficult task indeed! Wolf Stamps go on sale soon.

Bring Your Own Bag

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Support New Mexico Wild: Shop at Whole Foods Market!
New Mexico Wild has been selected to be the beneficiary of Whole Foods Market's "Bring Your Own Bag" program. During the months of April, May, and June, bring your reusable shopping bag to Whole Foods Markets in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. For each bag, 10 cents will go to New Mexico Wild! Thanks to Whole Foods Markets for this very special fundraising event.

753 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505

2103 Carlisle Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110

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Wolf Victory April 2018

For immediate release April 2, 2018

Court rejects flawed Mexican wolf management rule

Capping population, killing more wolves, cutting off habitat undermines recovery

TUCSON—Today, a judge ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") to go back to the drawing board on its deeply flawed 2015 Mexican wolf management rule. The court rejected the Service’s distortion of science to fit the political goals of increasing allowable killing, setting a population cap, and limiting the wolves’ range. The judge found the rule further imperiled the endangered species, and the Service illegally failed to reconsider the wolves’ designation as a "non- essential" population.

Reading like something out of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, the January 2015 final rule refused to consider the only wild population of Mexican wolves as "essential" to the recovery of Mexican wolves in the wild. The rule also arbitrarily capped the population at a level far below what scientists consider necessary for recovery, excluded the wolves from native habitat in northern Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah, and allowed more killing of Mexican wolves by federal agents and private landowners over livestock conflicts. The judge rejected each of these components of the rule.

"Unfortunately, politics supplants wildlife biology in key parts of the Service’s Mexican wolf reintroduction rule," said Matthew Bishop with the Western Environmental Law Center. "It’s amazing we had to go to court to prove that population caps, more killing, and less territory harms Mexican wolves, but the court made the right decision today."

 

"Banishing Mexican wolves from their native habitats to appease political interests is the latest mistake in the Service’s long history of mismanagement of Mexican wolf recovery," said Christopher Smith, southern Rockies wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. "As the court held today, the only wild population of Mexican wolves is clearly essential to the species’ survival and recovery."

 

The Service’s Mexican wolf recovery plan so egregiously worked against Mexican wolf recovery, the scientists whose research was used to justify the policies wrote a letter disavowing the plan: "We are concerned that several of these citations misstate, misinterpret or provide incorrect context for the results and implications of our studies. Most of these problematic statements were not present in the draft [environmental impact statement], but occur for the first time in the final EIS."

The court held the Service failed to follow the best available science: "…[T]he best available science consistently shows that recovery requires consideration of long-term impacts, particularly the subspecies’ genetic health. Moreover, this case is unique in that the same scientists that are cited by the agency publicly communicated their concern that the agency misapplied and misinterpreted findings in such a manner that the recovery of the species is compromised. To ignore this dire warning was an egregious oversight by the agency." (Opinion at p. 31)

 

"Mexican wolves have struggled for almost a century largely because of human efforts to eradicate the species," said Judy Calman, staff attorney for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. "These embattled, iconic animals shouldn’t also have to struggle against the very agency tasked with saving them, and we're extremely pleased that the court agrees."

 

The rule instituted an unprecedented and scientifically unsound population cap of 300-325 Mexican wolves—something the original plan expressly disavowed. The best science shows that at least 750 wolves spread across three populations is necessary for recovery. The court rejected the population cap, finding "[t]he rule’s provision for a single, isolated population of 300-325 wolves, with one to two effective migrants per generation, does not further the conservation of the species and is arbitrary and capricious." (Opinion at p. 26)

 

Also rejected by the court, the management rule allowed expanded killing of Mexican wolves due to livestock conflicts. The rule’s language was extremely vague and subjective, referring to "unacceptable impacts" to "wild ungulate herds," opening the door to widespread killing of endangered wolves. The court ruled the expanded killing provisions "do not contain adequate protection for the loss of genetically valuable wolves." (Opinion at p. 28)

While the final rule expanded the boundaries of the area in which Mexican wolves would be allowed to roam, it banished Mexican wolves from important areas of native habitat, cutting them off arbitrarily north of Interstate 40. The best available science shows wolves must recolonize areas in the Southern Rockies and Grand Canyon to recover. The court criticized this arbitrary boundary noting the Service itself acknowledged the necessity of wolves dispersing into territories north of I-40 for the long-term recovery of the species.

 

"Friends of Animals is thrilled by this decision," said Wildlife Law Program Director Michael Harris. "It is both an important victory for Mexican wolves, as well as recognition that restoring North American carnivores is vital to the health and restoration of our wild places and ecosystems."

The Mexican wolf is the smallest, one of the rarest and most genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf. The species was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1978, but recovery efforts have largely foundered because the Service has yet to implement scientifically recommended recovery actions.

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Contacts:

Chris Smith, WildEarth Guardians, 505-395-6177, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Matthew Bishop, Western Environmental Law Center, 406-324-8011,

Judy Calman, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, 505-615-5020,

Michael Harris, Friends of Animals, 720-949-7791, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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