Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hearings on Taking Gray Wolves off Endangered List Rescheduled

Perhaps gray wolves were the only beneficiaries of the government shutdown because prior announced hearings on taking them off the endangered species list had to be rescheduled.  Also, the comment period, previously set to end on October 17, has now been extended to December 17, 2013.  A two-month reprieve, for what it's worth.  New hearing dates were announced on the website of the Fish and Wildlife on October 23 and in the Federal Register on Monday, October 28. 

Mexican Wolf Pup in Gila National Forest
The new hearing dates are:
  • November 19 from 6 pm to 8:30 pm in Denver at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place: (808) 405-1245.
  • November 20 from 6 pm to 9 pm in Albuquerque at the Embassy Suites, Sandia Room, 1000 Woodward Place NE: (505) 245-7100.
  • November 22 from 6 pm to 8:30 pm in Sacramento at the Marriot Courtyard Sacramento Cal Expo, Golden State Ballroom, 1782 Tribute Road: (916) 929-7900.
  • December 3 from 6 pm to 8:30  pm in Pinetop, Arizona, at the Hon-Dah Conference Center, 777 Highway 260, which is three miles outside of Pinetop at the junction of Highways 260 and 73: (929) 369-7625.
Both the proposal to delist the gray wolf and the proposal to list the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies were discussed here in some detail on July 8.  Fish and Wildlife has already said that these hearings are for commenters to vent, not for its representatives to subject themselves to explaining their weak-kneed wildlife preservation philosophy.  That is, they'll try to look interested even though they've made up their minds. 

Curiously the December 3 meeting in Pinetop, Arizona, “will provide the opportunity for interaction with Service staff, who will be available to provide information and address questions on the proposed rule.”  Apparently, Fish and Wildlife feels obligated to explain why it is trying to help a remnant of the Mexican wolf population, which, as I noted on July 8, it holds out little hope for in the long run.   

Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, RINs 1018-AY00 and 1018, AY46, 78 Fed.Reg. 64192 (October 28, 2013). Photograph taken from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mexican Wolf Recovery Program: Progress Report # 15.

Additional Note.  In the Federal Register for Halloween, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requested a five-year renewal of its permit to export and re-export live Mexican or lobo wolves (Canis lupus baileyi) for breeding and reintroduction, as well as the export and re-export of biological samples for genetic studies.  The Pinetop hearing might be the place to ask how many wolves the agency plans to bring into the area where the Mexican wolves can still be found.  78 Fed. Reg. 65353 (October 31, 2013)    

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