LAS CRUCES NM -- Gov. Bill Richardson's State of New Mexico is rightly concerned about endangered Mexican wolf survival and recovery.
Due to persecution and killing by public-lands ranchers and fed agencies under Bush/Cheney, the Mexican wolf population in AZ and NM fell 12% last year to just 52 wolves.
In 2007, "there were too many losses from the wild wolf population..." said Bruce Thompson, director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. "The Department will work with citizens to ensure that more innovative wolf management is conducted in 2008, consistent with the multiple-partner wolf reintroduction effort, and any conflicts will be evaluated closely to determine resolution strategies that are most beneficial to wolf survival and conservation."
Unfortunately, there has been no similar statement from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, or fed bureaucrats in the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, all of which remain largely hostile toward endangered species and large carnivores.
As more lobos die, BLM and the Forest Service just announced for 2008 they will keep public lands grazing fees at the absurdly low welfare rate of $1.35 per month for a cow and calf. Many 'ranchers' these days on America's lands are in fact just rich hobbyists getting taxpayer subsidies to play cowboy.
AZ Gov. Janet Napolitano should join Gov. Richardson on oversight and a clear stronger state commitment to wolf survival and recovery.