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Center for Biological Diversity:
Mexican gray wolf

Las Cruces Sun-News, May 12, 2013

Your View: Letter Was Wrong
By Michael Robinson

A recent letter, "Tell both sides," is wrong about the funding received by the Center for Biological Diversity, a national, nonprofit conservation organization founded in rural southwestern New Mexico in 1989 that has helped save hundreds of species of wildlife and native plants from extinction. Contrary to letter-writer Michele Connelly's statement, the Center is chiefly funded by memberships and other donations (from, among others, more than 1,000 New Mexicans who care about endangered animals like Mexican gray wolves). On average, less than 5 percent of the Center's annual revenues comes as reimbursements for suing the federal government - reimbursements we only receive in cases we win.

Connelly is right that the Fish and Wildlife Service should respond to our statement that its trapping and shooting of wolves on behalf of the livestock industry has contributed to inbreeding.

For example, in 2004 the Saddle Pack's alpha male was shot by the government, despite a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist having pointed out that he was genetically irreplaceable. Other genetically valuable wolves were removed alive but not bred in captivity.

Just 75 wolves, including a mere three breeding pairs, survive in Arizona and New Mexico. The Fish and Wildlife Service granted itself a surreptitious permit to enable similar persecution of wolves crossing into the United States from Mexico, where authorities are reintroducing them. A Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit on the matter led to withdrawal of the illegal permit, saving taxpayers money in trapping costs and, more importantly, shielding these vulnerable animals from official persecution.

- MICHAEL J. ROBINSON, Center for Biological Diversity, Silver City

Copyright © 2013 MediaNews Group.

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton