Rain clouds roiled over Truth or Consequences as about 70 people filed into the Civic Center auditorium to watch US Fish and Wildlife Service staff scroll through a presentation on the recently released draft plan for Mexican gray wolf recovery. It’s been 20 years since the wolves were reintroduced to the wild, and 40 since they were added to the Endangered Species List. The document introduced this summer is the first plan aimed at fully recovering the species.At the July 20 meeting, four staffers from the federal agency faced an audience spotted with cowboy hats and green T-shirts declaring “Wolves without boundaries.” A professional moderator had been flown in from out of state to keep people on time, on task and following a code of conduct that allocated each attendee a single question and related follow-up. Rules banned signs along with any sort of audible response to other speakers.The sheriff and state police attended—one would have thought to keep the peace as well, until the sheriff took the microphone to ask whether Sierra County’s commissioners could ban wolf releases in their county. The answer is “not really;” the Endangered Species Act compels recovery, and this is a core piece of their historic range. But whether wolves will be released in Sierra County is a matter for the county to take up with the state of New Mexico.

Source: A new federal plan for Mexican wolf management meets states’ wants, but does it meet the wolves’ needs?