December 17, 2018
The Associated Press
A New Mexico rancher who trapped an endangered Mexican gray wolf and hit it with a shovel said he plans to appeal the loss of his grazing permit.
Craig Thiessen told The Arizona Republic that he has no livelihood without the permit and will have to sell off his cattle.
“If I lose it, I’ll have nothing,” Thiessen said. “I’ll walk away with nothing. Won’t have a home. Won’t have a livelihood. Won’t have a ranch.”
Under the permit, the Datil rancher is allowed to graze hundreds of cattle across the Gila National Forest.
The U.S. Forest Service notified Thiessen in late November of the decision to revoke his permit.
He had 45 days to remove his cattle or appeal.
Thiessen pleaded guilty in May to knowingly taking threatened wildlife.
The 10-month-old wolf pup died in February 2015.
Thiessen has said he knew he caught a Mexican gray wolf because it had a radio tracking collar.
Thiessen stopped short of admitting to killing the wolf in his plea agreement.
He told The Republic that the wolf ran away after he let it go.
Fish and Wildlife Service officials said the wolf succumbed to the injuries it sustained from Thiessen.
Mexican gray wolves are protected by the Endangered Species Act. And grazing permit terms require ranchers to comply with federal laws protecting wildlife and other aspects of the environment.
Marta Call, a spokeswoman for the Gila National Forest, said this is the first time the Forest Service has moved to revoke a rancher’s grazing permit for harming a Mexican gray wolf.