After Legal Challenge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Rescinds Permit to Trap Border-crossing Wolves in the Southwest

For Immediate Release

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Michael Robinson, (575) 534-0360

After Legal Challenge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Rescinds Permit to Trap Border-crossing Wolves in the Southwest

SILVER CITY, N.M. - Just two weeks after a legal challenge by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rescinded a permit it had granted itself and other federal and state agencies to trap wolves that cross into Arizona and New Mexico from Mexico. The contested “take permit” authorized wolves to be trapped and kept indefinitely in captivity, even though by law those wolves should be fully protected under the Endangered Species Act.

“We’re glad the government rescinded this permit, which would have damaged prospects of real recovery for Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest and Mexico,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The fact is that this permit should never have been on the books in the first place. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service never provided an opportunity for public comment on this permit and never bothered to publicly disclose it until after our legal challenge.”

A month after Mexico initiated a wolf-reintroduction program in October 2011 the Fish and Wildlife Service granted itself and other agencies authority to live-trap wolves from Mexico if they entered the United States. Last year the Center for Biological Diversity warned the Fish and Wildlife Service that the permit was illegal and filed a lawsuit in late March.

The U.S.-run Mexican wolf-reintroduction program in Arizona and New Mexico — which is about 100 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border -- allows capture as well as shooting of wolves under some circumstances. Government abuse of that authority has contributed to suppression of wolf numbers as well as genetic inbreeding.

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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