\       SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #162          /
       \                    11-25-98                    /
        \                                              /
          \          /

                  MEXICAN GRAY WOLF UPDATE

- 5th wolf confirmed shot, no free roaming wolves left.
- Inmate claims cattlemen offered wolf bounty. Cattlemen
    deny wolves were shot, claim Bible is anti-wolf.
- SW Center releases Wolf Safe Haven Plan. Coalition blasts
    livestock industry, asks them to drop suit.
- Babbitt warns ranchers. Tucson Citizen calls for
    cancellation of grazing permits.
- Reward stands at $35,000

     *****     *****     *****

5TH WOLF CONFIRMED SHOT. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has
confirmed that the wolf found dead Monday on the border of
the Apache National Forest and the Fort Apache Indian
reservation was killed by gunshot wound. Of the 11 reintroduced
wolves, 5 were shot, 3 were removed after leaving the recovery
area, 1 is missing. The two remaining males were captured and
placed in release pens with two new females. No Mexican gray
wolves are in the wild at this time. The four penned wolves
will be released soon.

BOUNTY FOR WOLVES. New West Research has released an audio tape
of Jody Cooper who, while in prison on wildlife violations,
claims to have been offered $35,000 by a member of the New
Mexico Cattle Growers Association to kill all the introduced
wolves. In an interview with the Tucson Citizen, however, Cooper
denied being offered the bounty.

In a bizarre twist, Eric Ness of the New Mexico Farm &
Livestock Bureau simultaneously suggested that no wolves were
shot, AND that they were shot by "extreme leftist
environmentalists." A New Mexico rancher attending a lecture
by the killer of the first gray wolf, told the crowd
that the Bible refers to cattle positively 80 times, and
only five times to wolves, all of them negatively. "God is on
our side," he said.

WOLF SAFE HAVEN PLAN RELEASED. In response to the slaughter,
the Southwest Center released its Gray Wolf Safe Haven Plan
on 11-24-98. The plan calls for:

  - designation of the Blue Range Primitive Area as a federal
  - establishment of a 1.9 million acre wolf release zone in the
     Gila/Aldo Leopold wilderness complex along with a travel
     corridor along the San Francisco River between the Blue
     Range and Gila/Aldo Leopold recovery zones,
  - reintroduction of wolves next year into the more remote
     Gila/Aldo Leopold wilderness complex,
  - closure of unnecessary roads throughout the Apache and Gila
     National Forest,
  - phasing out of livestock permits within the 3.6 million acre
     Blue Range and Aldo/Leopold primary recovery zones,
  - re-opening of the investigation in the killing of the first

See the full plan at

Damage Review, Defenders of Wildlife, New West Research, White
Mountain Conservation League, Animal Protection of New Mexico,
the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Sky Island Watch, Maricopa
Audubon Society, Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the
Southwest Forest Alliance sent a letter on 11-24-98 asking the
livestock industry to drop its lawsuit to shut down the wolf
reintroduction program:

  "The livestock industry, now working with New Mexico's farm
  bureaus, has been the principle force behind the near
  extinction of the Mexican gray wolf. Whether through bounties,
  direct hunting, trapping and poisoning, or through subsidized
  federal and state predator eradication programs, the livestock
  industry has waged war on the wolf for the last hundred years...
  Your current lawsuit to end the gray wolf recovery program,
  like the Farm Bureau suit in Yellowstone, continues a shameful
  chapter of history that should have ended long ago. Americans
  broadly support wolf reintroduction. A November 17, 1998 poll
  by CNN showed that 89% of Americans favor wolf reintroduction...
  These people own the public lands where the Mexican gray wolf
  has been introduced. Their tax dollars subsidize the livestock
  industry on these lands...Your misguided lawsuit not only
  contradicts the wishes of Americans nationally and locally, it
  has helped to foster an atmosphere of fear and hatred within
  which cowardly and ignorant actions fester..."

see the full letter at

BABBITT WARNS RANCHERS. While helping to release two female wolves
on 11-2-98, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt warned the livestock
industry that wolves are here to stay:

  "I'm standing on public land owned by the people of the United
  states of America, and 90 percent of those people want wolves
  here...The question is not the wolves- they have learned how
  to live here - it's their human neighbors. The livestock
  industry...has come to think of range rights as exclusive rights
  akin to ownership, for running cattle for their exclusive use.
  That is not the way it is...Our job is to make sure the interest
  of all the public is protected - not one use to be exalted
  above all others."

On 11-17-98, the Tucson Citizen prefigured the Southwest
Center's Safe Haven Plan by calling on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service to find a more remote wolf release site, and upon the
U.S. Forest Service to begin revoking grazing permits if the wolf
killings continue:

  "The federal government's biggest enemy in the effort to
  reintroduce wolves to Arizona is the federal government. It
  leases land to ranchers at bargain basement prices. It is fully
  aware that the sentiment that led to the wolves' extinction in
  the area 50 years ago - through bullets, poison and traps - is
  still strong today.

  Yet the government seems to think it can put wolves and people
  together in close proximity and expect them to live harmoniously.
  Perhaps it should stop renewing some of its grazing leases to
  give the wolves a chance. Perhaps it should take the bold step
  of announcing it will do just that if another wolf dies.

  Unless the federal government puts the wolves beyond easy
  reach of people who want to gun them down, and protects them
  from hostile interests, there's no reason to hope the slaughter
  will end any time soon."

$35,000 REWARD. Thus far the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has
offered $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and
conviction of the killer(s). Defenders of Wildlife has matched
this with another $10,000. The staff of the Southwest Center have
put up $5,000. Author Michael Blake has put up $5,000. And a
coalition including the Southwest Center, the Southwest Environmental
Center, Forest Guardians, New West Research and others has put
up $5,000. The agency reports that credible information has been
forthcoming since the rewards were offered.


Kierán Suckling                     
Executive Director                            520.623.5252 phone
Southwest Center for Biological Diversity     520.623.9797 fax                      pob 710, tucson, az 85702-710