Talking Points on U.S. FWS’s Proposal to Amend the Experimental Population (10j) Rule for Mexican Wolves

Logo 2We encourage all SCI members to attend the public hearings on the proposed changes to the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Rule.  The first hearing will be held from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. on November 20, 2013 at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Sandia Room, 1000 Woodward Place NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The second hearing will be held from 6:00 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. on December 3, 2013 at the Hon-Dah Conference Center, 777 Highway 260, Pinetop, Arizona.


Below are talking points to consider if you plan to present oral testimony at the Albuquerque public hearing.  The talking points can also help you prepare written comments on the proposed rule.  Please be advised that there is no limitation for length of written comments submitted at the hearing; however, if you sign up to speak at the hearing, you will likely have only a couple of minutes to speak.  The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has indicated that it will limit the amount of time for each speaker, depending on how many individuals sign up to speak.  Three minutes will be the maximum amount of time allowed, but if many people sign up, the Service will likely limit each speaker to only one minute.  You will need to be brief and direct.

While the talking points are a good starting point for both oral and written comments, please do not copy them to make your written or oral comments.  When the Service receives multiple copies of virtually the same comments, it simply treats the multiple submissions as a single comment.  For that reason, it is important for you to use your own words and to provide your own input in any comments you submit.  The most effective comments include details about the actual impact of the proposed action on you and your personal experiences.  If one or a few of the points below resonate with you in particular, focus on it or them. If you have ideas that don’t appear below, then please use them.

A representative from the SCI Washington, D.C. Litigation team will be testifying at the public hearing on November 20th in Albuquerque.


  • The FWS has not provided sufficient reason for the proposed modifications:  Aside from the need to reclassify the Mexican wolf population in order to separate it from the remainder of the gray wolves of the lower 48 contiguous U.S. states, the FWS has not provided sufficient explanation for why the terms of the experimental population rule require modification.
  • The terms of the 10(j) rule should not be modified just as the Mexican wolf population close to meeting recovery goals:  The prime recovery objective, identified in the 1982 Recovery Plan for Mexican wolves, was to achieve a viable, self-sustaining population of at least 100 wolves.  The FWS’s own population data indicates that federal state and private stakeholders have achieved the current population of 75 wolves — which is ¾ of the stated objective.  It would not be appropriate to “move the goal post” just as the federal, state and private stakeholders are close to achieving success.
  • The FWS should not attempt to recover the Mexican wolf north of the area currently designated.  The historic range of the Mexican wolf goes no farther north than New Mexico and Arizona and the FWS should not attempt to recover the wolf in areas north of that currently designated for the experimental population.
  • The States Should Have Greater Management Authority Over Experimental Wolves:  If any modification of the rule should be made it should give the states additional authority over the management of wolves.  The wildlife management agencies of New Mexico and Arizona should be given greater authority to manage their Mexican wolf populations including to authorize take, when and if the states deem it necessary.
  • The Rule Should Include an Escape Clause:  If any modification of the rule should be made, it should authorize the complete removal of the wolves if anything causes those wolves to lose their experimental status.  A regulatory “escape clause” would authorize the removal (including by lethal means) of all Mexican wolves if statutory, regulatory or judicial actions convert the status of the experimental wolf population to threatened or endangered and/or require that experimental Mexican wolves be treated as if they bear that status.
  • Wolves Found Outside the Experimental Population Zone Should Be Considered Experimental and Returned/Relocated to the Zone:  The boundary for Mexican wolves should not be broader than the area designated for the experimental population.  In accordance with the FWS’ decision to delist all gray wolves of the lower 48 states, with the exception of the Mexican wolf, the FWS should recognize any wolf outside the experimental population border as a delisted wolf.  If there is some question that the wolf outside the experimental population boundary is a member of the Mexican wolf subspecies, that wolf should be placed within experimental population boundaries.
  • States That Have Experienced Experimental Wolf Populations Should Advise on Rule Modifications:  Montana, Idaho and Wyoming have just emerged from a decade long experience involving an experimental wolf population that recovered to the point where the Distinct Population Segment in which it was situated could be removed from the endangered species list.  No modifications to the Mexican experimental wolf population rule should be considered without the input of those with on-the-ground expertise in this area.
  • Social Tolerance is the Key to Mexican Wolf Recovery:  Without the participation of the communities that must deal with the presence of Mexican wolves on a day-to-day basis, recovery efforts will fail.  The FWS must involve the hunting community in the ongoing management of Mexican wolves in order to develop the requisite public tolerance for long-term conservation of the subspecies.
  • Any Modification of the Experimental Population Rule Requires A Collaboration with the States and Private Stakeholders:  Congress designed the experimental population strategy to encourage states and private entities to accept the introduction of populations of what would otherwise be threatened or endangered species.  Rules governing the management and opportunities for the take of members of an experimental population should be agreed upon by the states and private groups that will be dealing with that population.  Any modification of the experimental population rule for Mexican wolves that doesn’t properly incorporate the input of these entities violates Congress’ intent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Follow First For Hunters on
%d bloggers like this: