Mexican gray wolf

A Mexican gray wolf, fitted with a radio collar, is shown in this 2018 photo.

TUCSON — Several conservation groups expressed condemnation toward the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service over claims of a secretive authorization to allow the trapping or killing of wolves.

A press release issued by the Center for Biological Diversity and others announced that conservationists had discovered that the USFWS had issued what they called a “blanket authorization” to trap or kill wolves that threaten livestock.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service has apparently authorized the trapping and relocation of any wolf, and the killing of one uncollared wolf, but the agency has refused to make the removal order publicly available,” the Center for Biological Diversity said.

“Punishing wolves for eating the slowest, easiest-to-get prey in their habitat is just senseless brutality against this key native species,” Western Watersheds Project Deputy Director Greta Anderson said. “It’s insane that we allow ranchers to run their herds in wolf habitat without requiring any proactive measures of protection, and then kill the wolves for taking advantage of human carelessness.”

The Copper Era reached out to the regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for comment and will update the story as that information becomes available.

The Mexican gray wolf has a combative history in the state, with conflict between conservation groups and rural ranchers among others, with organizations like the USFWS and Arizona Game and Fish acting as mediators between those groups’ interests and stewards of ongoing recovery efforts.

Recently, the current federal administration’s policies toward conservation and protection of endangered species have been less than favorable for the affected species. New rollbacks that have been announced to the Endangered Species Act will now consider economic factors before a species can be listed as endangered or threatened, alarming conservationists.

“The act’s effectiveness rests on clear, consistent and efficient implementation,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in a release. “An effectively administered act ensures more resources can go where they will do the most good: on-the-ground conservation.”

“It’s sickening to know that a critically imperiled wolf may soon be caught in a cruel, excruciating trap or even shot dead,” said Michael Robinson, a senior conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The last thing Mexican wolves need is another federal trapping and killing spree on behalf of the livestock industry.”

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