Mexican gray wolf, © Jim Clark/USFWS

Howling about a proposal in the Southwest

Wolf advocates show support at regional hearings

Last week over two hundred wolf supporters turned out to public hearings in Arizona and New Mexico to rally and speak on behalf of the imperiled Mexican gray wolf. The number of advocates who attended the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) hearings in two relatively remote areas (Pinetop, AZ and Truth or Consequences, NM), was a testament to the dedication of Defenders’ members and wolf supporters in the region, and directly correlated with what the majority of people in the Southwest have already made clear – lobos belong in the region and deserve a real chance at recovery.

wolf suite pinetop

Wolf advocates gather before the hearing to practice giving testimony.

With only about 90 Mexican gray wolves and few breeding pairs in the wild, lobos are the most endangered wolves in the world. The hearings were held to take comments on a new proposal that would change the rules for managing Mexican gray wolves. These rules would give the small, struggling population more habitat to roam, but at a steep cost – it would allow more wolves to be killed, and would keep them out of some of the best remaining habitats.

Defenders teamed up with several other conservation organizations to host information sessions and a rally, and helped supporters polish their testimonies for the hearing. We also helped those who weren’t chosen to testify to write and submit comments to the Service. Local lobo lovers and those from as far away as California and New York all made their voices heard.

Between the two hearings, more than 90 wolf advocates were given the opportunity to testify before the Service, outnumbering by a margin of more than two to one those who are unsympathetic to the dire plight of these iconic animals.

wolf hearing Pinetop

A packed room at the start of the hearing in Pinetop on Aug. 11.

Visitors from Colorado spoke about the abundant suitable habitat in their home state, and several people called for allowing Mexican gray wolves to access suitable habitat in the Grand Canyon region. At the hearing in Truth or Consequences, a state senator from Las Cruces, William Soules, was the first to speak. He did so on behalf of both the lobos and his constituents, whom he said have contacted him time and again about their desire to see a better future for Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico.

Many other advocates spoke about camping among wolves and the thrill of spotting tracks or hearing howls, the meaning and significance of wilderness, the ecological importance of predators like wolves, a desire for conservation for future generations, and a need for humans to be able to coexist on the landscape with wolves. Two hunting groups sent spokesmen who understood the ecological importance of wolves in keeping herds healthy and nature intact. And though the comments were as diverse as the people delivering them, they all touched on one common principle: to lose the lobo would a tragedy of our lifetime.

TorC rally

Led by Defenders, wolf conservation advocates prepare to rally in Truth or Consequences, NM.

As Defenders’ Director of Southwest Programs Eva Sargent said in her testimony, “the Fish and Wildlife Service has a responsibility as stewards of these endangered animals to save them from extinction… Let’s put politics aside and instead use the science we already have to give Mexican gray wolves a real chance at recovery.”

Many thanks to all of those who rallied and supported the Mexican gray wolf at the recent hearings. If you weren’t able to, there is still time to submit your comments to the Service – tell the Fish and Wildlife Service not to allow more killing, but instead do what it knows the lobos need:

  • Complete and implement an updated recovery plan and management rules that are based on science, not politics
  • Release more breeding pairs into the wild
  • Establish at least two additional core populations in suitable habitat

Courtney Sexton is a Communications Associate for Defenders of Wildlife

20 Responses to “Howling about a proposal in the Southwest”

  1. Julie

    This has to stop killing this poor animals don’t any of you have hearts

    • whitewolf thorn

      leave our beautiful wolves alone they don hurt anybody if u will kill a wolf or any other endangered annimals you have no heart or conscious u will kill people too. you are soulless how could anyone do such horrific things to annimals or people. how would they like to be hunted for nothing just give me 5 mins with them. I am so furious. leave our wolves and all annimals alone you r a serial killer in the making.

    • Nancy Mehan

      Wild animals have every bit as much right-to-life and space in which to live as humans. Leave the wolves alone!!


    If they are allowed to entertainment themselves by going out killing our beautiful native animals what will they decide to kill for “fun” ? Could it be other people? Makes us all think .


    I’m sorry that I left a few words out in the sentence of killing for fun . The word following that was supposed to be”next”. Sorry

  4. Suzy Hayes-Tripp

    The most important thing any of us can do is “submit your comment” to the Fish & Wildlife Service. Link above.

  5. frank linares

    hope your children meet the same FATE YOU SPECIAL FOLKS murderers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. carole pooler

    Please stop the killing of these magnificent animals that are so beneficial to the balance of our Eco-system. The killing of wolves–what were you thinking and why?. What have the wolves ever done to hurt or harm you?

    We are all part of the whole. We are all connected. We were put on earth to take care of each other, not kill each other.

  7. William F. Armstrong

    The wolf is the antecedent of all of our canine housepets.
    They kill only to survive, not for pleasure, as do so many humans.
    They maintain social relationships among families and display affection to their kin.
    In most ways they demonstrate more civility than we humans who murder them.
    Why can’t we leave them alone? Why must we destroy them?
    Perhaps we are envious of their dignity, their pride, their courage, their beauty.

  8. Melissa Warfield

    The Mexican Gray Wolves should and will be given a chance to breed and survive! Humans nee to coexist in the landscape with wolves and many other animals. Here is a question for you to think about: “Who was here first”? That is very easy to know. Any animal lover knows the answer. The Fish and Wildlife Service has to give thought to the Mexican Gray Wolf. Why? The Wolves take care of the ill, sick, feeble and dying animals. If the wolves are no longer around, disease will run rampant and man will die! Take heed for this is happening now!

  9. Julie Cain

    Predators have a valued place in our eco system…All the farmers see is the occasional sick cow blamed on wolf-kill…what they don’t see is how the wolves keep the the deer, the rabbits and other small game under control.

  10. Cori

    In this country it’s all about money. Wolves would be safe if only they defacated silver nuggets…

  11. Robyn

    Humans deem themselves to be the “Higher Being” citing higher intellect,an ability
    to ‘reason’ to make logical and informed decisions.WRONG.
    Humans are the ONE species of ANYTHING on this planet which has the capability to DESTROY every other living thing,including htemselves and it came to be that way because humans CANNOT LIVE IN HARMONY WITH THE NATURAL WORLD.HUMANS ARE AN ABHERRATION – A MISTAKE – A FLAW.
    Bcause of the very existence of the human,species of anmals are wiped out every single cannot live with himself having gone to WAR with one another for as far back as evidence shows and is STILL being dug up.
    SOME humans however,have managed to develop brains enough to recognise these WRONGS and try to RIGHT them.
    The wolf is an essential part of the NATURAL ECOSYSTEM.It is the human,who wishes it to be removed to ensure they can live theirUNNATURAL lives,destroying everything in their path for greed,money,to build,to desecrate Nature.
    The wolf MUST BE PROTECTED.THE WOLF BELONGS HERE.HUMANSMUST ADJUST ACCORDINGLY to develop ways in which the WOLF can live in it’s natural surrounds,unimpeded by human abnormailty.
    LEAVE THE WOLVES ALONE and sort out your OWN MESS humans.You are surely on the path to self destruction.

  12. Leslie Stanick

    The Fish and Wildlife Service should be protecting wildlife, not assisting in it’s decimation. Lobos are indigenous to the southwest, and need to be protected, not hunted. The FWS continues to do the bidding of ranchers and farmers. Cattle are not an endangered species! Wolves are! Extinction is forever. Please, protect the lobos before it is too late.

  13. mario bouton

    Wolves are a part of nature.Let them be free and wild.This hunting and killings on this beautiful animals most stop!

  14. Bonnie MacRaith

    Our lives are intimately connected to all wildlife whether we know it or not. We are all ONE, all related to each other. Humans receive untold benefits from their mere existence …they are a reflection of all that is good and whole. If we wipe them out we are wiping out a part of ourselves. The wolf is especially a “balancer” in nature and is so valuable to the ecology wherever it is found. God Bless The Great Wolves of our Planet Earth!

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