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1,295 Days Since US Fish & Wildlife Did Its Job

July 3, 2012

Tags: Mexican Gray Wolf, USFWS, Benjamin Tuggle, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

It's been 1,295 days since the US Fish & Wildlife Service has released a new member of the Mexican Gray Wolf population into the wild. The USFWS has crippled the recovery program for the species for political reasons, according to a complaint filed with the Interior Department (USFWS’ parent agency) last month by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and this Associated Press report.

The PEER complaint alleges serious “scientific and scholarly misconduct.” Benjamin Tuggle, regional director of USFWS southwest division, convened a panel of seven scientific experts in 2011. They confirmed that the Mexican Wolf Recovery program is “not thriving” with only 58 wolves in the wild. The program, the experts testified, needs at least “three populations of 250 wolves each,” connected by dispersal corridors. Tuggle let it be known through intermediary emails that he preferred a far different recommendation: “You should not feel undo [sic] pressure at this point to accommodate, per se, but you should recognize that this is his way of telling you (at least at this point) what information he would like to see.”

“What information he would like to see.” As PEER points out, this is a failure to comply with President Obama’s commitment, and the Interior Department’s stated policy, to make decisions based on the “best available scientific information.” Instead, the Interior Department and the USFWS have based policy on the Mexican Wolf Program and many other issues on political considerations.

Obama: Want the environmental vote? Keep your promises.

Photo—Lobos of the Southwest