A lot of this article is just blue sky exaggeration-

This article’s URL was emailed to me by someone familiar with the Mexican wolf program. Federal officials look for ways to make wolf recovery a success in the Southwest. By Susan Montoya Bryan. LA Times.

My email friend wrote: “I read these stories and I can’t keep a straight face.  Mexican wolves have killed hundreds of cattle in the last decade?  At best they got 52 of the “little buggers” so any talk of hundreds of dead cattle is absurd.  I certainly hope that someone . . . makes a stand on this kind of misinformation.  If any ranchers have gone out of business or plan to in the future I would think they could come up with a believable story rather than a laughable one………..”

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

27 Responses to Federal officials [said to] look for ways to make Mexican wolf recovery a success in the Southwest

  1. avatar Jeff N. says:

    I read this article this morning and had to laugh at some of the comments w/in the article.

    The official population count at the end of 2008 was 52 wolves in the wild. I believe they are pretty evenly split between AZ and NM, roughly 25 in each state. The highest offical population was +/- 65 wolves a few years back, but……
    This small number of wolves is responsible for hundreds of cattle depredations, 4 livestock producers going out of business w/ 4 more on the brink. These people sure know how to play the whiney victim. Not surprising though, remember these are the same folks that erected wolf-proof bus stop shelters for their kids.

    Gotta love Catron county always the victim, under constant seige from lobo’s, spotted owls, tree huggers……….

  2. avatar Rick Hammel says:

    Bud Fazio, FWS wolf program director, was formerly the program director for the red wolf program in N. Carolina. He was somewhat successful and perhaps he will overcome the livestock political influences. Speaking of dreams!

    Rick

  3. avatar Maska says:

    Rick, we’re hopeful!

  4. avatar JB says:

    If you were to build a bottling plant in the desert would the federal government come to your rescue when the well dried up? What about a timber mill? What if you opened a boat dealership? Would the government protect you from your own stupidity? No.

    Raising livestock on arid western lands makes about as much sense as any of these.

  5. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Ed Wehrheim, Head of Catron County Commission says:

    “It’s very, very serious for Catron County and all of the wolf recovery area,” he said. “We don’t see any ranching existing with the wolf. We don’t see any hunting existing with the wolf. We’re talking tens of millions of dollars of loss.”

    At the end of 2008 the official population count was 52 wolves in a recovery area that encompassess 4 million acres. There will probably be a slight increase in the wolf population at the end of 2009, let’s assume it will be 65+ wolves. According to Ed, currently ranching and hunting can’t exist with 52 – 65 wolves in a 4 million acre recovery area comprised primarily of public land. I wonder how many wolves Ed would tolerate in the recovery area in order to keep him from whining…..I guessing zero.

    How do you bring people like this to the table and attempt to reach some sort of workable plan for the Lobo’s recovery when these same people are incapable of giving an inch. It’s pointless and a waste of time and goodwill.

  6. avatar Ryan says:

    “If you were to build a bottling plant in the desert would the federal government come to your rescue when the well dried up? What about a timber mill? What if you opened a boat dealership? Would the government protect you from your own stupidity? No.

    Raising livestock on arid western lands makes about as much sense as any of these.”

    JB,

    Yet somehow they have managed to do it successfully for the last 175+ years.

  7. avatar steve c says:

    Ryan, maybe a bottling plant in the desert would last 175+ years if the federal government spent millions of dollars killing every plant and animal that competed with the bottling plant for water. Also, maybe the gov could own the building and rent it out for much less than they could be getting. Get my drift? I hardly think you can call ranching a 175 year success when they need to suck so heavily on the teet of the taxpayer to survive.

  8. avatar Debra K says:

    Yeah, Ryan, “success” by whose definition? Not the wildlife,’s, not the land’s, not the taxpayer’s.

    Plus, if you see many of these operations, they have ramshackle sheds, rusting machinery, pastures grazed to dust, etc. and look more like they belong in Appalachia than than in the 21st century West.

    IMO, they should, in fact, move back east where there’s plenty of moisture and grass if they want to continue livestock production.

  9. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    I hardly think you can call ranching a 175 year success when they need to suck so heavily on the teet of the taxpayer to survive.

    That’s exactly the case.

  10. avatar JEFF E says:

    They have been very successful at working the livestock welfare system and playing the poor me card.

  11. avatar Ryan says:

    “I hardly think you can call ranching a 175 year success when they need to suck so heavily on the teet of the taxpayer to survive.”

    Name an industry that currently isn’t sucking off the taxpayer Teet in some way or another right now?

    “Plus, if you see many of these operations, they have ramshackle sheds, rusting machinery, pastures grazed to dust, etc. and look more like they belong in Appalachia than than in the 21st century West.”

    Debra K,

    Its a lifestyle choice, your suburbia or apartment life would be looked at with the same judgemental view of disgust you view theirs with.

    There are several outfits that have been in business for the last 100 years running strictly on private ground and public inholding ground.

  12. avatar Debra K says:

    Ryan, you seem to assume, without justification, that I have a “suburban or apartment” lifestyle. You are flat wrong. I grew up on a farm, with livestock, and now live in a rural part of the west.

    We have a few “natural” ranchers around here that run relatively few healthy grass-fed cattle on their well-tended private ground. More power to ’em, and when folks ask me who they should buy beef from, I recomend these types of producers (if one still feels the need to consume beef products, which I don’t). They are exceptions, though.

    I stand by my statement that the majority seem to be barely eking out an existence, and looks like a miserable one at that. I’ve been kicking around the west over 25 years. Things seem to be on a downward trend in rural areas. I don’t think it’s because of us enviros (we have no real power), but because they want to keep doing things the same way they have for generations, such as running high numbers of stock and using public lands. And global market forces in general also working against small producers.

    If ranchers can adapt to raising fewer but more higher value stock, on their private ground, without undue ecological damage, fine with me.

  13. avatar Matt says:

    There has to be more areas in Arizona and New Mexico for
    the Mexican wolf to become re established. They should expand the current population in the Blue Range and Gila, and consider some other areas for more wolves, northern Arizona by the San Francisco peaks and along the Mogollon Rim , south west Arizona has some large wildlife refuges, and northern and central New Mexico, perhaps parts of Texas as well.

  14. avatar steve c says:

    Imagine what would happen to wolves in Texas…

  15. avatar Maska says:

    Actually, Mexican wolves in Big Bend National Park might make sense, especially if they eventually reintroduce lobos just across the Rio Grande from the park. Of course, connectivity between the two populations would depend on what happens with the border wall.

  16. avatar mikarooni says:

    Another thing to remember is that Mexican wolves are pretty puny excuses for wolves. A big one might weigh sixty pounds and they don’t run in very big packs either. Tales of incredible “Godzilla-rampaging-across-the-ranch” mayhem being inflicted by three or four thirty to sixty pound (max) canines are kind of silly.

  17. avatar jerryB says:

    Maska….I was looking at real estate via the internet in the Jemez Springs area. Saw a sign that said “Lobos Welcome”.
    Have you heard any talk of reintroducing them to that area. It’s been a long time since I lived in Los Alamos, but I don’t remember running into cattle in that area.

  18. avatar Maska says:

    Jerry, I’m afraid that’s not a part of the state with which I’m familiar. Are you sure they mean four-legged lobos? Maybe they meant UNM athletes! 🙂

  19. avatar gline says:

    Name an industry that currently isn’t sucking off the taxpayer Teet in some way or another right now?

    How about Oil, mining… resource extraction…

  20. avatar jerryB says:

    Maska……just remembered where I saw it. It was in the classifieds of the Jemez Springs newspaper that the realtor sent to me. If that’s the sentiment in that area, I’m ready to leave the killing fields of Montana for the Jemez Mountains!

  21. avatar Jeff N. says:

    The Jemez Mountains/Valles Grande would be a great place for Mexican Gray wolves. I’ve heard both areas referred to as the Yellowstone of NM. Both (and they are adjacent to one another) have a very good prey base of elk. Another area in NM that would be good is the Vermejo River area NE of Taos, directly north are the South San Juan Mountains of CO.

    In AZ the North Rim Of the Grand Canyon/Kaibab Plateau would be a viable release area as would be the Sky Island mountain ranges of SE AZ (Pinaleno, Chiricahua, Huachuca). Another possibility would be the Grassland/Madrean Oak ecosystem of the Buenos Aires N.W.R. and Tumacacori Highlands.

  22. avatar Maska says:

    There’s a map showing most of the areas Jeff N. mentions in a pamphlet from Defenders of Wildlife called “Places for Wolves.” You can download it from DOW at the following URL. It’s a 1.75 MB PDF. The info and map relating to wolves in the Southwest are on pp. 26-27.

    http://www.defenders.org/resources/publications/programs_and_policy/wildlife_conservation/imperiled_species/wolf/places_for_wolves_2006.pdf

  23. avatar kt says:

    I’m concerned that the Defenders mapping doesn’t show Nevada as Recovery habitat. There is anothr map that has an arrow heading to the Santa Rosa range – but not the Jarbidge. It sure seems like parts of Nevada are better potential habitat than southern Utah.

    There have been repeated reports of possible wolf sightings in Nevada.

    Maybe part of what the new War on Nevada’s Predators is about is killing any wolves that make it to the Jarbidge country or points south … Wouldn’t want a wolf looking cross-wise at a Barrick gold mine or Pat Mulroy cow now would we???

  24. avatar Ryan says:

    “Name an industry that currently isn’t sucking off the taxpayer Teet in some way or another right now?

    How about Oil, mining… resource extraction…”

    Gline,
    Your kidding right?

  25. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Ryan, lots of industries are suckling off the taxpayers’ teats, but ranching is still one of the worst. How many others demand so much special treatment?

  26. avatar Ryan says:

    Pro,

    Currently..

    The Auto Industry, Banking industry, Forest products, Green energy, just to name a few off the top of my head.

  27. avatar Jeff says:

    Ryan cattle producers in the midwest do not receive subsidies like their Western Couterparts. Most small businesses in America don’t recieve welfare. Construction and small banks don’t get handouts, neither do tourism based industries. Midwest and Eastern farmers (grain not livestock) receive subsidies not to grow to preserve soil banks and so as to not over produce and drive grain prices too low.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

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