For Immediate Release, November 20, 2009
Contact: Michael Robinson, (575) 313-7017
Center for Biological Diversity Warns of Lawsuit Over Delay in Mexican Wolf Protection
SILVER CITY, N.M.— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today over the agency’s failure to respond to a scientific petition to list the Mexican gray wolf as “endangered” separate from other gray wolves nationwide.
“The Mexican gray wolf has fallen through the cracks and is receiving insufficient protection,” said Michael Robinson of the Center. “Timely action is essential. We hope the government will acknowledge the strong science we submitted and begin the relisting process immediately.”
The Center for Biological Diversity filed the petition on August 11, 2009, triggering a statutory requirement for an initial finding on the petition’s scientific merit within 90 days – a deadline that has passed without action.
The Center’s petition requests that the Mexican wolf be designated as an endangered subspecies or distinct population segment of the gray wolf to ensure that a new recovery plan is developed that includes criteria for recovery and delisting – which the Mexican wolf does not now have.
“The Mexican gray wolf is a distinct entity that deserves unique recognition and recovery efforts,” said Robinson. “Mexican wolf recovery has fallen off the tracks in recent years in part because of the legal limbo the species faces as a subset of the larger listed gray wolf.”
Since 1978, the endangered listing for Mexican wolves has been folded into a much broader listing for gray wolves across much of the United States and, as a consequence, there are no criteria for how many animals and in what distribution would constitute recovery for this most-imperiled subspecies.