A coalition of conservation and environmental organizations filed a lawsuit Tuesday claiming that the agency hasn’t succeeded in developing a valid recovery plan for the endangered Mexican gray wolf. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Arizona and it is meant to obtain a court order for the development of such a recovery plan.
The lawsuit was filed against both U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well. The four nonprofit agencies that took action are Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Wolf Conservation Center and Endangered Wolf Center.
The original 1982 Mexican gray wolf recovery plan is far from complete and “later amendment of the plan is obviously required for its realistic completion,” authors of the plan stated.
83 Mexican gray wolves exist in the wild nowadays. Moreover, according to a news release provided by the Center for Biological Diversity, a 2012 draft recovery plan authored by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists was abandoned. The Mexican gray wolf is included on the federal list of endangered species. It almost went extinct in 1980.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service describes it as the “smallest, rarest, southernmost and most genetically distinct subspecies of the North American gray wolf.”
In the meantime, a hunter who took a shot at a gray wolf after being surrounded by a pack in northeastern Washington on Oct. 30 was cleared of any wrongdoing by Washington Fish and Wildlife police who investigated the incident. After a previous encounter with several wolves, the hunter heard a noise in the brush, yelled to see if it was his hunting partner, but got no response. A black wolf appeared within 15 to 20 yards and approached him. The man shot at the wolf. He told officers he believed he hit it, but the wolf ran off. The name of the hunter is being withheld.
The Mexican gray wolf is the smallest species of gray wolf, and was made extinct in the Southwestern US by the 1970s. The species was reintroduced in the US in 1998, after being listed on the Endangered Species Act in 1976, with 11 wolves being released back into the wild. The Mexican wolf was once of religious significance to the Aztecs, for whom it is thought the species represented the sun.