The New Mexico Game Commission, which is the wildlife agency of the state has denied the appeal of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to release more Mexican gray wolves.
In a public meeting held in Albuquerque on Tuesday, Sept. 29, the commission, headed by Director Alexandra Sandoval, has announced that it cannot reintroduce another pack of wolves into the southwestern wild of New Mexico, with a 7-0 vote results.
Officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expressed their disappointment with the outcome of their appeal as delaying the release of the animals would take a toll on the genetics of the wolves currently living in the wild of Arizona and New Mexico. Hence, despite the decision, the federal government still vowed to continue with their plans of recovering the species of the endangered animals.
"Our goal is recovery," said Sherry Barrett, coordinator recovery project involving Mexican gray wolves. She added that they will still persist with the release of wolves to alleviate the genetic health problems faced by the wild population.
People present in the meeting cannot help but shout boos and catcalls while holding their placards that read "More wolves, less politics." As the results of the votation were being declared, some people were heard shouting that the outcome was shameful and that it was no surprise. Public commentaries were prohibited for the said issue.
In June 2015, a federal permit for the Mexican gray wolves release program was denied by Sandoval, saying that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was not able to present sufficiently detailed plans regarding the release of about 10 captive wolves in the Gila National Forest. With this, Sandoval said she was left with less than enough data pertaining to the impacts of the animals on the populations of deers and elks in the area. The federal agency refuted this claim and said that Sandoval's decision was not based on any specified lawful or regulatory protocols.
One of the game commissioners named Elizabeth Ryan from Roswell said that the team could only invalidate the decision of the director if they found it irrational and impulsive.
"We're not here to make a value-based decision," she said. "We're here to look at whether the director's decision was reasonable or rational."
In 1976, the Mexican gray wolves were included in the list of the endangered species of the federal government. The species were reintroduced into the wild in 1998, but was cut short due to political issues and unlawful killings, among many others.