Utah state officials are fighting a Department of the Interior (DOI) plan to include southern Utah in a recovery zone for the Mexican gray wolf, a sub-species they say has never lived north of Interstate 40, which runs through the middle of New Mexico and Arizona.
The DOI plan is to lure Mexican gray wolves to southern Utah, an act the Utah Wildlife Board (UWB) warned in a December 2015 letter to DOI would actually harm the species, because Mexican gray wolves would have to compete with and interbreed with northern gray wolves, a separate species.
Misuse of ESA
Brian Seasholes, director of the Reason Foundation’s Endangered Species Project, says it’s a mistake for the Interior Department to attempt to expand the range of the Mexican wolf into areas in where it never existed.
“This is yet another attempt by [DOI], egged on by environmental pressure groups, to use the wolf’s status under the Endangered Species Act as a land use and resource use control tool,” said Seasholes. “If the primary issue was conservation of the Mexican wolf, then the Interior Department and others would concentrate their efforts on the wolf’s primary habitat, which is south of Utah and Colorado, and, more importantly, [they would make efforts] to compensate ranchers, homeowners, and others who have livestock and pets preyed on by wolves.”
‘Congress is Impotent’
Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory (R-West Jordan) says the attempted introduction of the non-native wolf population is another sign animals on the Endangered Species List are more important to the federal government than farmers and ranchers.
“I spoke to the county commissioners in the area where the Mexican wolves will be introduced, and they’re extremely frustrated,” Ivory said. “They feel the government is attacking the very principles this country was founded upon.
“Congress is impotent,” said Ivory. “To beat back this onslaught from the federal government, the people of Western states must amend the Constitution through an Article V convention and constrain the government so that it returns to its proper role of protecting the life, liberty, and self-determination of the people.”
Kenneth Artz ([email protected]) writes from Dallas, Texas.