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Killing Wolf Recovery Program Not on Target: ABQ Journal Editorial

Albuquerque Journal, 2-22-2011

This was a wild idea that deserved a quick death.

Eliminating funding for the Mexican gray wolf recovery program should have been a non-starter, despite U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce’s genuine desire to save money — and no doubt to get in the good graces of the House GOP leadership now that he’s back in the congressional saddle. Pearce says the program is a failure and ending it would save taxpayers money.

Last week he submitted an amendment to the continuing funding resolution passed Saturday by the House that would have eliminated money for the 12-year-old wolf recovery effort. However, the amendment didn’t make it into the bill to keep government going until Sept. 30, the end of fiscal 2011. If it had, funding would have stopped for the next six months. Proposing to simply pull the funding for the controversial environmental program in this way shows a lack of regard for public debate, environmental considerations and study.

The Mexican Gray Wolf, one of the smallest of the Gray Wolf subspecies, once numbered in the thousands throughout the southern Southwest but now is one of the most endangered native species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services recovery program has been plagued with management problems and conflicts with the livestock industry. The wolf population in the wild was expected to reach 100 by 2006, but by the end of 2010 had hit only 50. That’s up from 42 in 2009, despite the fact that five of six wolves found dead last year were illegally shot and killed.

These iconic natural predators deserve their place in the ecosystem, and Pearce should find a better target for his budget-cutting bullets.

Original post: http://www.abqjournal.com/opinion/editorials/2221847675opinioneditorials02-22-11.htm

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