New Mexico county fed up with wolf
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
June 30, 2007
The Catron County (New Mexico) Commission has determined that a reintroduced Mexican wolf is a threat to humans and has served the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with its notice of intent to remove the animal, since the federal wildlife agency refuses to do so.
Read Catron County’s press release below:
CATRON COUNTY COMMISSION
PO BOX 507
RESERVE NM 87830
Ed Wehrheim, Chairman
Contact: Bill Aymar, Catron County Manager
June 26, 2007
CATRON COUNTY SERVES 24 HOUR NOTICE TO US FWS
Demands for protection for county residents continue to be ignored
RESERVE, N.M. – After repeated letters from Catron County government and a family living on a ranch in the Gila National Forest to remove a female Mexican gray wolf (AF924) which has been stalking the family’s residence since its release into the wild in late April, on Thursday the Catron County Commission issued a “24 Hour Notice of Intent to Remove Mexican wolf Durango AF924” to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
“This family and the County have tried to get FWS to remove that wolf for two months,” said Ed Wehrheim, Chairman of the Catron County Commission. The County has issued two letters of demand for removal of the wolf. The first cited the wolf’s past history of depredation and a report that the wolf had bitten a human. The second letter cited six incidents involving problem wolf behavior which were reported to, investigated and confirmed by FWS as having involved the wolf in question in a six week time period.
A psychiatrist specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry has diagnosed a thirteen-year-old member of the family with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by the wolf and her mate. The psychiatrist pointed out in the evaluation that therapy would be valueless unless the causative factors (the wolves) were removed immediately. The Mexican wolf recovery program SOP 13, Control of Mexican Wolves, and Final Rule Section 17.84 (k)(ix) both provide guidelines for the removal of nuisance or problem Mexican wolves when hazing and other methods prove inadequate. In the County’s 24 Hour Notice, it was pointed out that no action has been taken by FWS or any other agency to “respond to the demand for removal, nor has any adequate action been taken by your agency or any other agency to reduce the risk to humans from AF924”.
When the family and the ranch owner each finally appealed in writing to the Catron County Commission to provide the protection they needed from the wolves, the County Commission sent the 24 Hour Notice to FWS and all the agencies involved in the wolf program. The only response of FWS was to send law enforcement officers to observe the County’s Wolf Interaction Investigator, who is attempting to protect the family from any more incidents with this problem wolf. The investigator has set up camp outside the family’s house and intends to trap for the wolf and turn it over to FWS. Sources say that the law enforcement officers are waiting for a court injunction for the County and the County’s investigator to cease and desist the trapping. FWS continues to not provide any protection for the family, however.