SCI Sues to Challenge Mexican Wolf Rules
On Friday, October 16, 2015, Safari Club International filed suit to challenge recent revisions to the rules that govern recovery efforts for the experimental Mexican wolf population being reintroduced to New Mexico and Arizona. Although the wolves were originally released in 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a modification of the regulations pertaining to the wolf population on January 16, 2015. SCI’s lawsuit challenges that the rule revisions did not involve an agreement between the federal government, states and private stakeholders, as required by the Endangered Species Act. SCI’s lawsuit also asserts that the FWS failed to properly analyze the impacts that the increased population size and range would have on the New Mexico hunting community.
SCI filed suit in federal district court in New Mexico and is cooperating in this case with its two New Mexico chapters. Local counsel for SCI in New Mexico is Albuquerque attorney Nathan Winger.
SCI has long been involved with the experimental population strategy for species recovery. Together with the SCI Foundation and SCI’s Alaska chapters, SCI contributed to the recent reintroduction of an experimental Wood Bison population in Alaska. Unlike the recent Mexican wolf rule revisions, the regulations pertaining to the Alaska Wood Bison population were the product of an agreement reached by the FWS, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and stakeholder groups. SCI is concerned that incorrect and/or illegal use of the experimental population strategy such as being used for Mexican wolves could undermine the future use of experimental populations and could prevent the success of future reintroduction and recovery efforts that require the willing participation of affected states and private stakeholders.