Animal-rights group wants Arizona voters to ban hunting of mountain lions, bobcats

http://tucson.com/news/local/animal-rights-group-wants-arizona-voters-to-ban-hunting-of/article_cc140fd3-be4a-5a03-a7c9-c53fc51ff297.html

  • By Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services
  • Updated 
Mountain lions
The hunting of mountain lions and other big cats is largely considered trophy hunting.

George Andrejko / Game And Fish Department

PHOENIX — Saying there’s no reason for “trophy hunting” of mountain lions, the Humane Society of the United States is moving to get Arizona voters to outlaw the practice.

The group’s proposal for the 2018 ballot would make it illegal to pursue, shoot, snare, net or capture any “wild cat.” That specifically means bobcats and mountain lions.

As written, the ban also technically would apply to jaguars, lynx and ocelot. But those already are protected as endangered species.

“People no longer really tolerate trophy hunting,” said Kellye Pinkleton, the Humane Society’s state director. “People are not shooting them, hounding them, trapping them for subsistence.”

But Kurt Davis, a member of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, said the number of mountain lions killed each year — about 360 in 2015, the most recent number available — simply keeps the population in check and ensures that prey species, including bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope, are not decimated.

Davis said he sees the proposed initiative as part of an effort to ban hunting entirely.

Pinkleton responded: “We do not have any blanket opposition to hunting.”

Backers of the ban on hunting big cats have until next July to gather 150,642 valid signatures on petitions to get the issue on the ballot.

The Humane Society and its local affiliate have a track record with voters. In 1994 they succeeded in getting Arizona voters to approve a ban on the use of leg-hold traps on public lands by a margin of close to 3-2.

Pinkleton noted that initiative laws have since been tightened by the Republican-controlled Legislature, with a ban on paying circulators on a per-signature basis and a requirement that petition papers be in “strict compliance” with all election laws.

But she said her organization and other allies should be able to raise the $3 million to $5 million it will take to force a public vote.

If it gets that far, it could be difficult to defeat. Davis said Arizona has a higher percentage of urban residents than any other “inland” state, meaning people less likely to go hunting.

That means the Game and Fish Commission and hunters will need to make their case that the practice should not be outlawed.

Davis said it comes down to science.

He estimated there about about 2,500 mountain lions in Arizona.

Each year the state issues more than 10,000 tags to hunt mountain lions. Davis said the commission’s experience is that, given the difficulty to actually kill one, that keeps the population in the 2,000 to 3,000 range, which he said is ideal.

Pinkleton disagreed. “The science doesn’t back up their claims,” she said.

She said the initiative would still allow killing of mountain lions in cases where they were endangering humans or killing other animals, whether a rancher’s cattle or the bighorn sheep that have been reintroduced into the Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area near Tucson.

The difference, she said, is that only the actual lions causing the problem could be hunted, versus simply telling hunters they can go out and shoot them in the area to cut down on the population.

Davis said such an approach makes little sense.

He said a 1990 initiative banning the killing of mountain lions in California now results in more of the big cats being killed by state officials to protect other species than were taken by hunters.

Pinkleton said there’s a good reason why the Arizona initiative would outlaw only the killing of wild cats.

“These essentially are killed for trophies or for fur,” she said, and for “bragging rights” about killing a lion.

“This is not deer or elk where communities are using the whole animal, whether for the meat or whatever,” she continued. “This is not a subsistence animal.”

Davis takes exception to pushing the initiative as a ban on hunting “trophy” animals.

“The notion of ‘trophy’ is a political notion that they’ve tested and polled,” with no actual legal basis, he said.

If the test of “trophy hunting” is whether hunters actually eat what they kill, that would include the hunting of coyotes, Davis said.

Beyond that, he said the initiative ignores that hunting is “a tool used by our state’s biologists … to manage our state’s wildlife.”

“Thank god … that you have hunters, both men and women sportsmen, that are willing to go out and be part of the management tools to maintain healthy populations of all of our species,” he said.

Bobcats, which Davis said number “in the thousands” in Arizona, are a different situation. They are classified the same as coyotes, raccoons and skunks, which can be hunted at all times without a special permit.

According to the Game and Fish Department, 1,300 bobcats are killed each year, on average.

Part of the debate is likely to involve methods used by some hunters.

“If a pack of dogs chases a mountain lion into a tree, and they are shot, that is not a fair chase,” Pinkleton said.

Davis countered, “That’s one of those issues that you see and hear, and it creates an emotional response.” But he said that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong.

“The traditions of using hounds to pursue lions is something that existed in our country since its foundation,” he said. Anyway, Davis said, only a “small number” of people have the ability to use dogs. “I don’t,” he said.

The numbers from the Game and Fish Department suggest that the use of dogs does make a big difference, however: Out of 324 mountain lions killed in 2015 by hunters, 247 of those were with the use of dogs.

Mexican gray wolf population bounces back in Southwest

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/02/17/mexican-gray-wolf-population-bounces-back-southwest/98078884/

PHOENIX — Endangered Mexican gray wolves rebounded from a deadly 2015 to reach a population of 113 in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico last year, the most since the species returned to the wild almost 20 years ago, federal and state biologists announced Friday.

The population of wolves, first reintroduced from captive breeding into the two states in 1998, had grown by fits and starts to 110 two years ago before dropping back to 97 at the end of 2015. Unsolved illegal shootings contributed to the losses, and officials said that year also saw lower pup survival.

Last year was different, according to winter ground and aerial surveys conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partner wildlife agencies in the two states. Fifty wild-born pups survived the year, compared with just 23 in 2015.

At least 63 wolves roamed the forests of eastern Arizona as of January, the agencies reported.

“We are encouraged by these numbers, but these 2016 results demonstrate we are still not out of the woods with this experimental population,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle said in a news release.

The year’s positive numbers didn’t sway wolf advocates, who say the population needs a major infusion of new blood with new releases of captive wolves.

Arizona has favored placing captive-born pups with wild packs in the state lately, instead of releasing pairs to form new packs. The tactic remains risky, Robinson said, as the annual census shows only three of six wolves fostered in this manner apparently survived last year.

New Mexico, meanwhile, has secured a court injunction barring new releases into that state for the time being.

Both states face pressure from ranchers and deer and elk hunters to limit potential wolf predations.

“New Mexico is paving a path that could lead to Mexican gray wolf extinction,” said Bryan Bird, Southwest program director for Defenders of Wildlife. “Releases are crucial to increase lobo numbers and improve their genetic diversity in the wild.

“We need more wolves and less politics.”

Arizona expects the survival of wild-born pups to help sustain last year’s growth rate, said Jim deVos, assistant director of wildlife management for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The Mexican wolf is the rarest of gray wolf subspecies and is somewhat smaller than its northern cousins. It was hunted into near extinction with U.S. government help in the past century before a captive breeding program began with the last seven survivors in the 1970s.

Mexico also has re-established a small population.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has long struggled to produce a recovery plan that would lay out a population goal and the means to get there, but it is due to release one this fall.

What if there were no Mexican gray wolves in Arizona?

http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2015/07/04/mexican-gray-wolves-arizona/29643765/

What If: Paul Gosar, Defender of Wildlife debate the impact of the Mexican grey wolf in Arizona.

What would happen if there were no Mexican grey wolves in Arizona? We asked two experts to weigh in on federal programs to reintroduce the species

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IT WOULDN’T MAKE MUCH DIFFERENCE

Arizona would be identical to Texas in that respect and the Mexican wolf population would more closely resemble its historic range (90 percent of the Mexican wolf’s original habitat is in Mexico).

However, I am not advocating for Mexican gray wolf eradication. I simply want the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to leave species conservation efforts to the states, to comply with federal law, and to stop implementing a flawed experimental program that poses a serious threat to Arizona ranchers, citizens and economies.

Mexican wolves have repeatedly stalked citizens, devastated big game herds and killed livestock. In Catron County, N.M., the wolf’s presence has resulted in a $5 million economic hit and “1,172 calves lost annually,” according to the Southwest Center for Resource Analysis.

In January, Fish and Wildlife implemented new regulations that dramatically expanded the area Mexican wolves can roam and designated the wolf as an endangered subspecies. The agency acknowledged its failure to secure appropriations prior to implementing the new regs, in violation of federal law.

The Mexican wolf has lingered on the Endangered Species list for nearly 40 years. During that time, Fish and Wildlife has failed to work with local stakeholders and has been using an illegal recovery program, as it is not based on the best available science and fails to establish a recovery goal. Arizona recently sued as a result.

The agency has acknowledged the recovery plan violates federal law and that the new regulations will not result in a de-listing. In the U.S., the Mexican wolf population now exceeds the primary goal of 100 wolves, and there are another 250 in captivity. The wolf is no longer in danger of extinction.

The bipartisan Mexican Wolf Transparency and Accountability Act rejects the new January mandates as Arizonans deserve a viable solution that adequately protects local communities.

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar is a Republican representing Arizona.

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IT WOULD BE A TRAGEDY

If there were no Mexican gray wolves in Arizona, this rarest gray wolf would be on a direct path to extinction. Essentially eradicated from the southwestern United States by the 1930s, the Mexican gray wolf It is one of the most endangered mammals in North America. There are fewer than 120 wild Mexican gray wolves in the entire world: 109 in Arizona and New Mexico and a handful in Mexico.

Why does that matter? Lobos hold profound cultural significance in our region, and are important apex predators that contribute to the environmental health of the areas they inhabit. Sadly, despite the work that has been done to recover them, the Mexican gray wolf is still noticeably rare on our beautiful landscape in Arizona. The truth is, Without lobos, Arizona would not be safer or more productive, but it would be lacking an iconic part of our heritage.

No one has ever been killed by a Mexican gray wolf, and in Arizona, wolves account for less than 1 percent of total cattle and calf losses. On the other hand, 87 percent of voters polled in Arizona agree that wolves are a “vital part of America’s wilderness and natural heritage,” and 83 percent of Arizonans agree that “the US Fish and Wildlife Service should make every effort to help wolves recover and prevent extinction.”

To lose the lobo would be a tragedy of our lifetime.

Eva Sargent is Southwest program director for Defenders of Wildlife.

Arizona sues feds over regulations on Mexican gray wolves

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Madeleine Winer, The Republic

The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Attorney General’s Office have filed a lawsuit against the federal government, alleging it has failed to update its Mexican-wolf recovery plan.

The state is asking the secretary of the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a modern plan that would improve Arizona’s involvement in recovery efforts and establish a target number of Mexican wolves for the area.

“If you think about wildlife management, part of what you want is for a target number of animals for there to be a balance in the rest of the biotic community,” said Jim deVos, Arizona Game and Fish Department assistant director for wildlife management. “You don’t want to have too many of the one thing. We want a healthy population of wolves in balance with social, economic and wildlife needs in the state of Arizona.”

The current Mexican-wolf recovery plan, established in 1982, allowed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to maintain a captive breeding program and re-establish the population with 100 Mexican wolves released into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in Arizona and New Mexico in 1998. Currently, deVos said, 109 wolves inhabit Arizona.

The Game and Fish Department claims the 1982 plan fails to identify how many animals would constitute recovery of the population and allow the wolves to be removed from the list of endangered species in the future. For decades, there have been conflicts between ranchers and the wolves.

More: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2015/06/08/arizona-sues-feds-regulations-mexican-gray-wolves/28721223/

Gray wolf reported at Grand Canyon for first time in decades

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Thursday, October 30, 2014 LAURA ZUCKERMAN FOR REUTERS
(Reuters) – A gray wolf was recently photographed on the north rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona in what would be the first wolf sighting in the national park since the last one was killed there in the 1940s, conservation groups said on Thursday.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was sending a team to try capturing the animal in order to verify its species and origin, although federal biologists are assuming it is a wolf unless otherwise determined, a spokeswoman said.
The agency later issued a statement saying a collared “wolf-like” animal had repeatedly been observed and photographed on U.S. forest land just north of Grand Canyon National Park, and that wildlife officials were “working to confirm whether the animal is a wolf or wolf-dog hybrid.”
It said the collar “is similar to those used in the northern Rocky Mountain wolf recovery effort,” and that feces would be collected for DNA analysis.
Several photos of the animal were taken over the weekend by a Grand Canyon park visitor who shared them with conservation activists and park staff, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which first made the findings public.
A note accompanying images viewed by Reuters said two wolf biologists and “an experienced wolf observer” who reviewed the photos concluded they “appear to depict a radio-collared northern Rocky mountain gray wolf.”
Any wolf roaming the Grand Canyon, in north-central Arizona, would be protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. If confirmed to be a western gray wolf, it would presumably have ventured hundreds of miles (km) south from the Northern Rockies, where the animals were reintroduced in the 1990s and are now estimated to number nearly 1,700.
A separate smaller population, from a subspecies called the Mexican gray wolf, inhabits southeastern Arizona and western New Mexico, hundreds of miles (km) in the opposite direction. But the animal in question appeared larger than a typical Mexican wolf, experts said.
The sighting comes as the Obama administration is weighing a proposal to lift Endangered Species Act protections for all wolves but the Mexican gray subspecies, even in states where wolves are not known to have established a presence.
Center for Biological Diversity executive Noah Greenwald said the new wolf sightings helped show such a move would be premature.
“It highlights … that wolves are still recovering and occupy just a fraction of their historic range,” he said.
(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Steve Gorman, Peter Cooney and Sandra Maler)

Arizona bill allowing ranchers to kill wolves also vetoed

copyrighted wolf in river

http://azdailysun.com/news/local/state-and-regional/ariz-bill-allowing-ranchers-to-kill-wolves-also-vetoed/article_05bcadf8-cab5-11e3-ab97-001a4bcf887a.html

by 

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer will not give ranchers and their employees permission to kill endangered Mexican gray wolves on federal lands.

The measure vetoed Tuesday was crafted by Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford. She has been a vocal foe of the program by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce the wolves into sections of Arizona and New Mexico, saying they are endangering not only cattle but also pets and children.

SB1211 would have spelled out that ranchers could “take” a wolf — legalese for killing — that was killing, wounding or biting livestock. It also would have legalized a guard dog that is protecting livestock killing a wolf.

And the law would also have permitted killing a wolf in self-defense or defense of others. In that case, though, the act would have to be reported within 24 hours to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Brewer, in her veto message, said she is a “strong supporter” of states’ rights. But she said SB1211 is both unnecessary and conflicts with federal law.

She said the state Game and Fish Department already is working with federal agencies to deal with how wolf reintroduction will affect the state. By contrast, Brewer said SB1211 would have given that duty to the state Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for dealing with ranchers and grazing.

Beyond that, Brewer said the legislation sought to put the Mexican wolf in the same legal category as mountain lions and bears. But she said that is in conflict with federal law which does allow killing those two species in certain circumstances but not the wolves.

“A state simply does not have the power to allow a ‘take’ on federal lands,” the governor wrote.

Brewer took no action Tuesday on HB2699, a related measure on her desk. It would allow a livestock operator or agent to kill a wolf on public lands if it in self defense or the defense of others, with the only requirement that it be reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But that measure also contains language that Brewer could find in conflict with federal law.

It directs the Attorney General’s Office to seek funds from the federal government to pay ranchers for their losses. But it also says that if the federal government doesn’t come up with the cash, the Legislature will consider a measure to require that Mexican wolves be restricted to federally controlled lands and removed from state and private lands.

Arizona House OK’s bill targeting wolf recovery program

copyrighted wolf in river
April 17, 2014 6:00 am  • 

PHOENIX — State lawmakers voted Wednesday to let ranchers shoot the Mexican gray wolves being reintroduced to the Southwest despite their listing under federal law as endangered.

On a 16-12 vote the Senate approved legislation that allows a livestock operator or agent to kill a wolf on public lands if it in self defense or the defense of others. The only requirement under HB2699 is that the act must be reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In separate action, the House gave final approval to SB1211. Its permission to kill wolves on public lands is broader, extending to any animal engaged in killing, wounding or biting livestock. And it also allows dogs that guard livestock to kill wolves.

The 37-22 vote came over the objections of Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson.

“We nearly destroyed the buffalo years ago,” she told colleagues, evoking the image of herds of animals shot and left to rot on the plains.

“We’re about to do this to the Mexican wolves,” Steele continued. “We don’t have to keep repeating the tragic mistakes of history.”

And Rep. Jonathan Larkin, D-Phoenix, said there are “more humane” alternatives to having ranchers kill the wolves. He said that New Mexico, for example, has set up a fund to reimburse ranchers for lost livestock.

That actually is part of HB2699, though there are no actual funds to do that. Instead, the legislation tells the attorney general to seek funds from the federal government to pay the ranchers for their losses. But it also says that if the federal government doesn’t come up with the cash, the Legislature will consider a measure to require that Mexican wolves be restricted to federally controlled lands and removed from state and private lands.

Much of the debate concerns whether wolves, which everyone admits were here until at least 1930, should be reintroduced to Arizona.

Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, who has been at the forefront of fighting the federal program, said the prey for the animals in her corner of the state are “cattle, a few whitetail, pets and our children.” And Griffin, sponsor of SB1211, told colleagues during committee debate earlier in the session about individuals in Arizona and New Mexico who have been stalked by the animals.

And HB2699 actually contains language that says the federal recovery program “introduces a brand new population of dangerous alpha-level predators and varmints into vast areas of land that have not seen wolves since the 1930s.”

That is based on the argument that the wolves have been bred and raised by humans and therefore, unlike wild wolves, “have displayed little or no fear of humans, have congregated near human dwellings and have mated with domestic dogs.” And tha,t the legislation says, makes these wolves “more unpredictable and dangerous.”

But Sierra Club lobbyist Sandy Bahr said this kind of legislation “creates this big bad wolf idea we need to get past.”

Steele, in an effort to block SB1211, drew on her Seneca heritage and beliefs.

“We are related to the trees and the dogs and the cats and the wolves,” she said.

“This may not be your religious view,” Steele continued. “But it is indeed mine.”

SB1211 now goes to the governor. HB2699 needs final House approval of the Senate changes.

Two Mexican wolf pairs released into Apache National Forest

Sunday, 06 April 2014 Written by YNN

Phoenix, Arizona – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) will release a pair of Mexican wolves today and another pair next week into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area of Arizona.

140402_Hoodoo_Wolf_pack_release2_GA_web.jpg

The pair being released Wednesday, consists of male 1290 (M1290) and female 1218 (F1218). The male was captured during the annual wolf population survey in January and paired with the female in a pen on the Apache National Forest. The wolves were held in the enclosure through the breeding season, which occurs in February and March.

The second pair, M1249 and F1126, will be released next week into the primary recovery zone in the Apache National Forest. M1249 was also captured during the annual wolf population survey. The pair has been held through the breeding season at the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility in New Mexico.

“This release follows through on a commitment made by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to support the release of wolves to replace those lost from illegal shootings,” says Chairman John W. Harris of the commission.

The Interagency Field Team responsible for the day-to-day management of the Mexican wolf population believes the females are pregnant and timed the releases to allow the wolves to transition to their new territory prior to giving birth to pups.

The two female wolves were selected from the captive breeding population to increase genetic diversity of the wild wolf population.

“We anticipate the release of these two pregnant females from captivity will have a higher chance of success because they are paired with males that already have extensive wild experience,” said Benjamin Tuggle, the Service’s Southwest Regional Director.  “The genetic value of the two females will help us as we move toward establishing a more genetically robust population of wild wolves.”

The IFT will monitor the wolves after release and, if necessary, provide supplemental food while the wolves acclimate to the area and transition to catching native prey.

The 2013 end-of-year population survey documented a minimum of 83 Mexican wolves, up from a count of 75 last year.

The reintroduction is collaborative effort of the AGFD, Service, White Mountain Apache Tribe, USDA Forest Service, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Wildlife Services, and several participating counties in Arizona.

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Alpha wolf pack sighted in Flagstaff

 

DAILY SUN STAFF Arizona Daily Sun
April 01, 2014

The city of Flagstaff has signed a federal agreement to become the first Wolf Sanctuary City in Arizona.

The contract with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service comes as night infrared cameras have picked up images of endangered Mexican gray wolves from the White Mountains migrating through Flagstaff.

The wolves are from the Alpha pack and are believed to be headed for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Others are expected to follow.

The agreement comes amid fears by Fish & Wildlife that state wildlife managers will attempt to capture and remove any endangered wolf that wanders outside the recovery zone.

“This is a win-win deal,” said Mayor Jerry Nabours. “The wolves get safe passage and Flagstaff gets another tourist attraction, even if the packs are just passing through.”

State Rep. Bob Thorpe has introduced legislation seeking to “deport” Mexican gray wolves as a nonnative species that he contends have been introduced to Arizona illegally.

“If you read the Endangered Species Act, the animals were intended to be introduced only cooperatively,” Thorpe said.

Instead, he said the wolves were forced on Arizona by environmentalist lawsuits.

STRUGGLED TO GAIN FOOTHOLD

The Mexican wolf population has struggled to gain a foothold in the White Mountains since being reintroduced into the wild in 1998. The animals are often shot by ranchers who fear for their livestock.

But North America’s most endangered mammal has taken kindly to Flagstaff and its approach to wolf rights.

The Arizona Department of Transportation’s infrared night vision cameras recently captured photos of the wolves entering Flagstaff. The wolves were traveling using the FUTS tunnels beneath major roadways, which Flagstaff officials now hope to make more “wolf-friendly.”

Thorpe said that state game wardens have been the only thing keeping the animals from taking over the entire state, so it’s only a matter of time before the welcoming city is overrun.

But biologists think the wolves’ likely destination isn’t Flagstaff at all, but the deer-rich forests on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.

A Northern Arizona University study recently showed that the wolves are using the Little Colorado River corridor to migrate.

Billy Babbitt, president of Babbitt Ranches, says his cowboys tell him they’ve seen the Alpha pack moving that way now for weeks. Once they reach the national park, the animals will be under the purview of the federal government and out of state hands.

Earlier this year, residents in the Coyote Springs neighborhood off Fort Valley Road said they were not alarmed to learn that mountain lions had been eating deer in their backyards. But a laboratory analysis done by the Arizona Department of Game and Fish has now shown the kills were actually made by wolves.

“At first, we felt very lucky because there’s a lot of wildlife out here to spare for predators,” said Coyote Springs resident Ben Lamb. “But now we’re wondering whether it’s so good for the pets.”

Flagstaff Animal Control Officer John Kachemkwik dismissed Lamb’s complaint.

“That’s what leash laws are for,” he said. “As for housecats roaming at night, they’re on their own.”

LACK OF DEEP SNOW

The dry winter has disrupted the normal hunting pattern for wolves, who take advantage of deep snow to catch deer and elk.

Instead, say biologists, they appear to be drawn to the colder climate of the North Rim, which still has a snowpack.

Thorpe warned, however, that he has heard from a friend of his neighbor’s plumber that Mexican gray wolves are especially fond of chihuahuas and likely to linger in Flagstaff.

“Mabye someone posted it on Facebook,” Thorpe said when pressed for his source.

Wolf advocates, however, said the sanctuary agreement meant the wolves had the equivalent of amnesty and could not be persecuted for their choice of prey.

“Wolves have the same rights to a varied diet as people do,” said Mandy Beach, a spokesperson for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “We need to be accommodating to all of God’s creatures,”

Thorpe, however, said he will introduce a bill to require the Flagstaff Unified School District to start building cages around bus stops to protect schoolchildren, similar to what other municipalities have done in New Mexico.

“I’d require the bus driver to be armed, too, except the council has declared school buses to be gun-free zones,” Thorpe said.

Shelly Wool, a spokesperson with Arizona Game and Fish, says her agency is not pleased, either. She said game wardens are examining ways to stop the wolves before they make it into the Flagstaff sanctuary zone.

One idea being floated is a corridor in which it would be legal to hunt the lobos. Wool said the wolves would be like sitting ducks if forced into the Pumphouse Wash Natural Area near Kachina Village, where the landscape could sandwich them between the interstate and neighborhoods.

“No agency has the right or moral authority to supersede Game and Fish when it comes to animal management,” Wool explained. “Besides, the wolves are competing with hunters for elk and deer, and that is costing us a lot of money in license tags.”

Beach, however, said the Sierra Club has already established a Sanctuary City Compensation Fund, which would pay pet owners as well as Game and Fish for any loss of dogs or game species, respectively.

“We’re not sure how they’re going to get across the Grand Canyon,” Beach added. “Maybe that tramway corridor down to the Confluence will be ready — by next April 1.”

http://azdailysun.com/news/local/alpha-wolf-pack-sighted-in-flagstaff/article_d5932aca-b95d-11e3-88cb-0019bb2963f4.html

MEXICAN GRAY WOLF ALERT

Arizona senators approve bill allowing livestock owners to kill Mexican wolves
PHOENIX — The Arizona Senate has approved a bill that allows livestock owners to shoot wolves protected by federal regulations if the… wolf is attacking other animals.
Senate Bill 1211 passed by an 18-12 vote on Monday..This would be devastating for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf population which totals just 83 in the wild
Support Lobos of the Southwest for more information on how you can help save the Mexican Gray Wolf. The bill now goes before the House of Representatives.
http://www.mexicanwolves.org/index.php/news/1185/51/Urgent-Act-Now-to-ProtectLos Lobos
If you live in AZ follow this link to contact your state legislator http://www.azleg.gov/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp
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