Campaigning to protect endangered species is a long, laborious process that involves hard work, sacrifice and the ability to keep moving forward. April 26th 2016 will be marked as a day when hard work paid off for, thanks to the efforts of several wolf conservation groups and environmental organisations. The coalition were able to successfully coerce the US Fish and Wildlife Service into preparing a recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves by November 2017.
Mexican gray wolves are one of the most endangered mammals in North America, with an existing 97 recorded in the wild at the end of 2015. Only 25 were recorded in Mexico and they face a serious threat of extinction. Thanks to the court order the USFW is required to meet its legal obligation to provide a plan that will aid in the recovery and sustainable management of Mexican gray wolves.
The plan has been delayed for over 40 years, having started from a document created in 1982 by the USFW. The service admitted the document was incomplete and only intended for short-term application and it “did not contain objective and measurable recovery criteria for delisting as required by the Endangered Species Act.”
Due to this failure to protect the wolf population, environmental lawyers Earthjustice filed a lawsuit in November 2014 to challenge the USFW. Earthjustice represented Defenders of Wildlife, the Centre for Biological Diversity, the Endangered Wolf Centre, Wolf Conservation Trust and retired Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican Recovery Coordinator David R Parsons. The announcement of a settlement agreement follows a September 2015 ruling by a federal judge in Tuscon that rejected government efforts to dismiss the case.
Michael Robinson of the Centre of Biological Diversity believes the settlement offers hope for the Mexican gray wolf. “After four decades of delay, a scientific roadmap for recovery of the Mexican gray wolf will finally be reality. The recovery plan should trigger new releases of captive-bred wolves into the wild and establish new Mexican wolf populations in the Grand Canyon and southern Rocky Mountain ecosystems.”
The settlement is a victory for environmentalists and proves hard work and dedication makes a difference. With the recovery plan in effect a rare species can be saved from extinction. When people come together to protect animals it’s a truly wonderful thing.