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USFWS Finalizes Changes to Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Rule in Arizona and New Mexico
Final Environmental Impact Statement Outlines Steps to Increase Range and Genetic Diversity, Mitigate Impacts to Ranchers and Native Ungulates
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized the revised rule under which Mexican wolves are managed in Arizona and New Mexico. The revised rule expands the area where wolves are allowed to occupy and increases the Service’s ability to further the conservation of one of the nation’s rarest mammals while being responsive to the needs of local communities. The final rule will be formally published in the Federal Register later this week.
Additionally, the Service has issued a final rule listing the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) as an endangered subspecies under the Endangered Species Act. The Mexican wolf had previously been protected under the listing for the gray wolf (Canis lupus). Under this listing revision, the experimental population will be associated with the Mexican wolf subspecies’ listing rather than with the gray wolf species.
“This revision of the experimental population rule provides Mexican wolves the space they need to establish a larger and more genetically diverse population – a population that can meaningfully contribute to the subspecies’ recovery,” said Benjamin Tuggle, the Service’s Southwest Regional Director. “The revision also provides us with the necessary management tools to address negative interactions. The expanded area for the Mexican wolf experimental population is accompanied by clearer and more flexible rules to support the interests of local stakeholders. Successfully establishing a larger population of Mexican wolves in a wider working landscape requires striking an appropriate balance between enabling wolf population growth and minimizing impacts on livestock operators, local communities and wild ungulates. This new rule achieves that balance.”