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Conservationists Blast Long-Awaited Recovery Plan for Mexican Wolves, Which Excludes Utah, Colorado from Lobos' Range

posted Sep 4, 2017, 9:22 PM by chloe owens

6/29/17, by Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune

Conservationists blast long-awaited recovery plan for Mexican wolves, which excludes Utah, Colorado from lobos’ range

… Released Thursday after decades of delay, the proposal appears to deviate sharply from a draft five years ago, when U.S. Fish and Wildlife scientists considered including southern Utah. The small-bodied wolf species once roamed the American Southwest and northern Mexico. The earlier draft pegged the target for recovery at 750 animals in the United States. The new draft lowers the target to 320 animals sustained over eight years — still triple the current U.S. population — with another 170 in Mexico. The draft drew a quick rebuke from conservationists who say it's geared toward a political objective, rather than the biological one required by the Endangered Species Act… Utah officials had long criticized the direction Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) wolf-recovery team had been heading with its call to establish more northerly populations. Without offering much proof, the Wildlife Board alleged that an expanded recovery area would lead to the "introduction" of Mexican wolves into Utah and dramatic losses in wildlife available for hunting. Utah-based anti-predator group Big Game Forever hailed the new draft as a victory for sportsmen.