Yavapai College - Newsletter 1

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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news August 20, 2014

12/3/2013 6:01:00 AM
Feds propose allowing wolves to roam in county
Final public hearing is today in Pinetop
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Tasai, one of the two Mexican gray wolves at the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary in Prescott.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Tasai, one of the two Mexican gray wolves at the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary in Prescott.
Wolf comments due by Dec. 17
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting public comments on its proposals through Tuesday, Dec. 17.

People can submit comments several ways:

• Submit written or verbal comments at today's meeting, which takes place at 6-8:30 p.m. at the Hon-Dah Conference Center, 777 Highway 260 about three miles outside of Pinetop. Registration for speakers ends at 5:45 p.m.

• Go online to regulations.gov and search for FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056 and FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073, the docket numbers for the Mexican gray wolf rulemaking. Use the comment box or attach a Microsoft Word document if you need more room.

• Mail comments to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056 (and/or FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073), Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Dr., MS 2042-PDM, Arlington, Va. 22203.

• Go online to fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf to find links to submit written comments. This site also contains information about the program and proposals.

Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to allow endangered Mexican gray wolves to roam throughout more of Arizona and New Mexico, including Yavapai County, so they have enough room to thrive in the wilds.

Currently the rarest wolf in the world is restricted to the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in east-central Arizona and west-central New Mexico. The proposal would allow them to roam into all of Arizona and New Mexico south of Interstate 40. New releases still would be restricted to the Blue Range Recovery Area.

"There's a benefit to restoring a complex assembly of species on the landscape," said Sherry Barrett, Mexican gray wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Wolves are a unique part of the landscape, and it's important we restore the full assembly of wildlife back to the ecosystem."

This change is part of an August lawsuit settlement reached between the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Center for Biological Diversity. The settlement also stops the Fish and Wildlife Service plan to trap Mexican gray wolves that roam into the U.S. from Mexico.

The federal proposal would keep the Mexican gray wolf's designation as "non-essential experimental" so ranchers and wildlife officials could continue to kill them for killing livestock or trap them for roaming outside their designated range.

While the federal proposal would list the Mexican gray wolf as an endangered subspecies, it also would remove the other gray wolves from the list of endangered species.

The last public hearing on the initial proposals takes place today in Pinetop, the only such hearing in Arizona.

As livestock populations increased in Arizona and people wiped out the native elk, wolves started eating more livestock and people killed them off, too. Most wolves were extirpated from Arizona by the 1950s and the last known wolf was killed here in 1970.

After a recovery plan was completed in 1982, the first Mexican gray wolves were reintroduced into the Southwest in 1998. Now approximately 75 are roaming the wilds, with only three breeding pairs. At least 37 wolves have been shot and 12 have been hit by vehicles, the Arizona Game and Fish Department estimated.

The wolves can't become self-sustaining in the Blue Range Recovery Area because only about 6,000 acres includes its historical range and wolves already inhabit about 4,500 acres there, Barrett said.

The agency's 1982 goal of 100 wolves in the wild was just an initial goal, Barrett added.

"We know 100 is not a viable, sustainable population," she said. So Fish and wildlife is embarking on a new recovery plan.

The recovery program has plenty more wolves available; about 300 wolves are being held captive in 52 facilities, including the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary right here in Prescott.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is starting work on a detailed study about the potential impacts of the territory expansion, including impacts on hunting, tourism and livestock, Barrett said.

After it releases a draft study and plan as early as early 2014, it will conduct another round of public hearings on the draft before finalizing a revised plan.

The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in August against the wolf territory expansion.

The board's only background information for the meeting was a 23-page document that staff found online. It's called "Mexican Wolf Recovery: Collateral Damage Identification." It features numerous graphic images of partially eaten cows, dogs and cats. The forward by the unnamed authors states that "wolves are destroying family rancher's (sic) ability to survive."

Warning readers that "habituated wolves come to your home and in your front yard where your children play," the document concludes "There is only one positive cure for problem wolves and that is to remove them... period."

Yavapai County Supervisor Craig Brown spoke during the August meeting against the wolf territory expansion.

"Are we willing to let the wolves take over here like they did in Montana, Wyoming and Minnesota to the point where the deprivation to the natural species of moose and elk, which we depend upon for our hunting population and the tourists that we bring into the state, gets out of hand?" Supervisor Craig Brown asked. "In those three states it is out of hand to the point where they are shooting (wolves) on sight."

Researchers thought wolves would focus more on deer in Arizona, but it turns out that 80 percent of their diet has been elk, Barrett said. The wolves have not reduced the overall elk population so far, she said.

Former Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Ralph Hess attended the August board meeting and asked the supervisors to look at more wolf data before voting.

"The report omits the value the wolves provide to the environment," Hess said. "If they return to healthy numbers, the wolf population strengthen the environment by keeping deer, elk and javelina populations healthy and in check. The wolves prey upon the old, sick and young and prevent those populations from growing so numerous that they overgraze and destroy the habitat that countless other species depend upon. And those other species include us."

Studies in Yellowstone have shown a resurgence in grizzlies, butterflies and other species that depend upon aspen and riparian plants that elk overgrazed before the return of wolves.

Prescott-area resident Jim Behnke attended the recent Mexican wolf public hearing in Albuquerque. He traveled to wolf country last month while helping to produce a new movie about them called "Lobos" that is set for a 2014 release, and he talked to state and federal officials involved in the wolf recovery program.

"I'm not an activist, I'm just an interested party," he said.

He supports expansion of the wolf's range.

"The health of wild game populations is maintained by having natural and balanced predation," said Behnke, who noted he is a hunter. "Balanced habitat is best for our world."

But he wants all voices to be heard, including that of the rancher who sat next to him at the public hearing.

"Many rural folk feel excluded from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service process," he said.

He hopes the new documentary helps everyone understand each other better, as well as the wolves.

Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter: @joannadodder.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, December 07, 2013
Article comment by: Al Basinger

Bears, mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, snakes, bugs, skeeters, bats, scorpions, foxes, wild cattle, javalina, badgers, and now wolves! It's a jungle out there! Run for your lives! Lock your doors! Stay out of the woods! And watch out for those chipmunks, they're mean! People crack me up. Wolves are cool, let em run and be free

Mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, bears, foxes, snakes, spiders, skeeters, bugs, bats, wild cattle, bees, yellow jackets, and now wolves! It's a jungle out there! lock your doors, run for your lives! People crack me up.

Posted: Friday, December 06, 2013
Article comment by: Last Rights

@Hi Jack

None of the non-essential/experimental MGW restrictions apply to private land. Your pets could be protected there.

If you are on public land, however, only an authorized IFT agent can harm a wolf. The idea is to protect wolves from people who would find an excuse to deliberately do them harm. Since it is my public land as much as yours, my vote says wolves need the protection more. Even as is, the law does not protect wolves sufficiently. It doesn't need to be weakened.

If the thought of wolves frightens you, leave your dogs at home. Other predators already inhabit NF lands in Arizona. Where have you been?

@ to Jack

Your claim to "know wolves and pets" because you are a country resident means nothing. Unless you live in the current recovery area of eastern Arizona, something that is not likely, you have never seen a wolf in the wild in the state of Arizona. That's because they don't live anywhere else in the state. For that matter, you probably have never seen a wolf in the wild anywhere else, either, and your unreasonable fears give you away.

Wolves prey on elk, deer and occasional small game, not humans. Stop falling for the anti-wolf crowd's scare tactics.

Posted: Friday, December 06, 2013
Article comment by: Hi Jack

"You know, as the Mexican gray is listed as a non-essential experimental species, the feds and YOU are allowed to, and often do, remove problematic wolves."


Read: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=9&ved=0CHIQFjAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nmlegis.gov%2Flcs%2Fhandouts%2FMG%2520wolf%2520fact%2520sheet.pdf&ei=ZFmhUvrkLoeKqQGB0YHgDA&usg=AFQjCNGceaxsEzLMies525nFF2c1qGqdZw&sig2=TgQrHxTbWEd5pN6uvYJJiQ&bvm=bv.57155469,d.aWM

And you will read: "You May Not Legally Kill or injure a wolf that attacks your pet (including working and hunting

Posted: Thursday, December 05, 2013
Article comment by: to Jack Duluoz

I think you might be mistaken, we are talking about man introducing the wolf back into an area of man's choice. God doesn't need our help, nor is he asking.
And to all those preaching about the natural traits of the wolf and how they avoid man, I wonder how far back you would have to go to hear the same thing about the coyote? They are now well known for going into populated areas and snatching up domestic animals, some while being walked on a leash. And yes they even snatch up children. Wolves are more daring and naturally curious. They will take animals right off your porch, and the food right out of your mouth once they learn they can. I love all animals, but hate paying someone else to play God.

Posted: Thursday, December 05, 2013
Article comment by: to Jack

"Furthermore, wolves avoid areas of higher human density. Its not like they're going to be strolling into town scooping up dogs and babies."

Yes, town residents are probably safe, as are their pets. This whole thing is being done by town people.

Speaking as a country resident, I already know about wolves and pets. So far, I do not know about wolves and small children. I hope I never do..

Posted: Thursday, December 05, 2013
Article comment by: Jack Duluoz

"Why on earth am I forbidden from protecting my dogs from wolves?"
You know, as the Mexican gray is listed as a non-essential experimental species, the feds and YOU are allowed to, and often do, remove problematic wolves. Furthermore, wolves avoid areas of higher human density. Its not like they're going to be strolling into town scooping up dogs and babies.

Another thing to consider, this is what happens in nature! When there are animals strolling around, nature creates other animals to eat them! I thought we all learned that as little childrens. If you don't want to risk losing cattle to natural predators - go ranch somewhere else! Arizona (and the Southwest) produces a NEGLIGIBLE amount of the nation's beef. Why should Arizonans have to cow-tow to a failing industry?

Good, God-fearing Arizonans should wake up and begin to care about ALL OF GOD'S CREATION. Tis not our place to judge the worth of His work.

Posted: Thursday, December 05, 2013
Article comment by: To Born Here

"Anyway, what's your solution, eliminate all wildlife?"

No, of course not.

But I would like the right to protect my pets, for example. Just like I can protect my livestock. My dogs, for example, are essential to my cattle operation, and losing one of them to a wolf would cost me more than losing a calf, and would wound my heart.

Why on earth am I forbidden from protecting my dogs from wolves?

These yuppie tree-huggers who live in town need to have their goldens or labs threatened by these predators to clear up their thinking.

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: Born HERE

Why the hell don't conservatives believe in conserving anything anymore? I wouldn't have thought that all these heat-packing rugged individualists would be afraid of a little nature.

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: Born HERE

@Hooty Hoo- "Before man landed here"?You know that man has been here since before the last ice age, 10,000 years ago, right? The white settlers who arrived here 400 years ago did not in any way discover an empty continent.

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: Born HERE

@Jim Hanson- When was the last time a human was attacked by one of these wolves? It doesn't happen.

Anyway, what's your solution, eliminate all wildlife?

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: Lets Hope

Lets hope the wolves will only prey on tree huggers who get lost in the woods.

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: Wolf Home

I saw a wolf on our property about a year ago. We have a dog, and three children, but none have been bothered by the wolf. Didn't realize our guest was so rare!

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: JM S

Wolves, eagles, hawks, lions, are all predators that contribute to our world, created by God, NOT to be killed by man. It's bad enough we kill alligators, tigers, bears, and ocean animals for our own greed, and it's not all for food. We will disrupt the balance of nature and there will be no turning back.

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: Re: No Thanks

Oh you nutty conservatives:

Conservative groups, which call wolves a threat to humans and livestock alike, say that would be government overreach. Wolf defenders, who cite the fact that no wolf attacks have been documented in New Mexico or Arizona, call the new kid cages a stunt....

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Hanson

It all depends on whose ox is gored. Or in this case, whose pet or child or grandchild is killed.

I wish misfortune on no one, but I believe these urban, office tree-huggers would change their tune if they had a child or a pet suffer a wolf attack. The Feds say we cannot defend our pets from attack, either. We must stand by and watch.

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: Wolves Belong

The Mexican Gray Wolf subspecies, Canis lupus bailey, has kept its status on the endangered list for a good reason. It is still endangered. The captive release area is in the Blue Range region of eastern Arizona and by last census has less than 100 wild animals. All future wolf releases will be in the Blue Range Primitive Area and the Gila and Apache NF units, NOT in Yavapai County.

Despite the ranting of Craig Brown, the YCBS, some locals (most of whom have never seen a wild wolf) and the Courier, humans are not at risk by wolves, nor are appropriate browser populations. Wolves may repopulate most of northern Arizona under this plan, but not without G&F management.

The Northern Gray Wolf, other than the Mexican subspecies, has been prematurely removed from the endangered species list in the Great Lakes and Greater Yellowstone recovery areas. Wolves there have checked burgeoning elk populations, saved valuable browse habitat in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, and restored ecological balance to the northern Rockies. Anti-wolf groups, however, have used blatant propaganda to make false claims of wolves decimating the hoofed browser population. Unfortunately, states such as Wyoming will assume wolf management after delisting.

If you care about this issue, submit comments to USF&W.

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: Jasmine Tea

Itís not like Arizona has an abundant deer herd, thanks to Az Game and Fish who have mismanaged the herds for the last 40- 50 years, just to reap dollars to fund themselves.

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: Vi King

It's not like we don't have wolves already living here! Did you know that wolves help keep the Coyote population in check?

Stop fearing the unknown. I think it is a safe bet that most of the people complaining don't even go outside unless they are headed to the mailbox...

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: John Rollo

It's important humans kill everything in sight. A god given right. What's to argue ?

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: ann B

Those of you who do not like wolves MOVE....they were here first. get real people if it was up to you everything would die!!...If you are so afraid of wildlife and want protection then build a fence around your property. ...

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: No Thanks

Take a trip through Reserve New Mexico and witness the cages that little children have to sit in to wait for the bus stop so the don't get eaten by Wolves. Talk to some ranchers in the area who have had to change their entire operation to a yearling operation because the wolves were eating their calf crop. This is a very bad idea put in place by some bleeding hearts that don't see the big picture.

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: Local Rancher

Cattle ranchers are not the only ranchers in Yavapai county!
We raise some cattle but mainly meat goats, the goats are used to create defensible space against wildfires in the urban areas, fire protection. We have over 300 head of livestock on our ranch and of course have many issues with predators because goats aren't as large as cattle and can't protect themselves. We use Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs for herd protection, but the reintroduction of wolves in our area could be devastating to our animals.
What doesn't seem to be discussed is when wolves where abundant here there were very few people in the region. Mexican wolf populations were all but eliminated from the United States and Mexico by the 1970s as a result of increasing conflicts with livestock operations and other human activities.
What makes anyone think that their reintroduction would be any different for them now when AZ has gone from 1,750,000 people in 1970 (when grey wolves had been eliminated), to over 6,600,000 as of the 2012 census?
I think it's cruel to reintroduce them and think they could thrive in AZ in this day and age!

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: intelligent and informed proud veteran

@ Hooty Hoo.. your comment "Check out the cover article ..... of Time..." is just plain off base. DUH.... JUST FYI: Wolves inhabited most of North America before the white man came and murdered almost all of them by the 1930's. As far as deer and feral pigs, the reason that there SEEMS to be a lot more of them is because the human population has spread like locusts (out of control) and has encroached on land that was (before white man came to North America) just the wilderness where feral pigs and deer (and other ungulates) thrived as well, without a lot of human interference, BUT whose numbers were kept in check by the predators , such as wolves, bears, and lions. Most of the wild lands are gone now and these species have no where to go, AND WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT, there are simply NOT ENOUGH predators to keep the prey species in balance. I suggest you read a real scientific book on how man has messed up the balance of nature.

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: just wondering

From what I am hearing from all sides, it is clear that no one knows and only believe what they want. For instance, we killed off the elk, and we killed off the wolf, but are told in the same breath that the wolves are killing off the elk. I think the cattlemen need to initiate their own scientific research program regarding the cow. That would preclude some one else from stepping on your ongoing research. Just got to get into the spirit of things. Wish I could make money by sitting back and watching dogs grow up.

Posted: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Aimes

Too many people in government.

Nothing better to do.

Looking for some way to justify their jobs.

Want to spend your money.

Don't care if you like it or not.

It is government, it's their nature.

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Yavapai College - Newsletter 2

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