Arizona Game and Fish Tuesday served a notice of intent to the Department of Interior Secretary and the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They hope to push for an updated recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves.
From the Arizona Game and Fish release:
“This Notice of Intent is an effort to ensure that the Fish and Wildlife Service adheres to its legal obligation to develop a thorough science-based plan that will lead to a successful recovery outcome that recognizes Mexico as pivotal to achieving recovery of the Mexican wolf given that 90 percent of its historical range is there,” said Arizona Game and Fish Department Director Larry Voyles.
The notice, which Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has to respond to in the next 60 days or it becomes a full on lawsuit, is to put some pressure on a November suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that was filed by a coalition of wolf conservation groups and environmental organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity.
An email from the center's spokesman Michael Robinson said:
By duplicating our efforts, the AZGF evidently seeks to join the case so as to help shape any possible settlement agreement.
The November lawsuit argues the nearly four-decade old recovery plan has had a lot of failures.
From a Center for Biological Diversity November press release:
“The opportunity to recover the Mexican gray wolf is slipping away due to genetic problems and inadequate management policies, but the government still hasn’t created the basic recovery blueprint that the law requires,” said Earthjustice attorney Timothy Preso, who is representing the groups. “We are asking a judge to order federal officials to develop a scientifically-grounded recovery plan before it is too late.”
Earthjustice is representing Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, retired Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator David R. Parsons, the Endangered Wolf Center and the Wolf Conservation Center.
“For three decades now, Fish and Wildlife officials have been dragging their feet on completing a recovery plan simply to appease state leaders and special interest groups opposed to sharing the landscape with wolves,” said Michael Robinson, a wolf advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s shameful that the very people charged with recovering our wildlife have turned their backs on these beautiful creatures, leaving them to battle inbreeding and a host of other threats pushing them to the brink of extinction.”
They go on to say that Wildlife Service has admitted its recovery plan from 1982 is incomplete, and that it was intended only for "short-term application."
From the November press release:
Service-appointed recovery scientists drafted a plan in 2012 that called for establishing three interconnected Mexican gray wolf populations totaling at least 750 animals as criteria for delisting, but the plan has never been finalized. The abandonment of the 2012 recovery planning process leaves Mexican wolf recovery guided by the legally and scientifically deficient 1982 plan, which did not even set a population recovery goal.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich said he supports the lawsuit, the Game and Fish release said.