Pearce a threat to wolves

Wolf2 © 2006 Larry Allen

The greatest threat to the survival of Mexican gray wolves today isn't the miscreant in the woods who illegally shoots a bullet into a wolf's head; it's a politician walking the halls of Congress named Steve Pearce.

Rep. Pearce, whose anti-environment extremism earned him a place on the League of Conservation Voters "Dirty Dozen" list in 2008, has recently proposed to cut federal funding for the Mexican wolf recovery program.

He tried the same tactic shortly before quitting his congressional seat in 2008, claiming in defense that "nothing is more attractive to a wolf than the sound of a crying baby."

Mexican wolves, the rarest and most genetically distinct subspecies of the gray wolf, were mercilessly trapped, shot and poisoned out of existence 100 years ago in New Mexico and elsewhere in the Southwest.

In 1974, however, it was acknowledged that El Lobo, the name the Mexican wolf is commonly know as, was in grave danger of extinction and was given protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In order to ensure the health of our natural ecosystems and protect the legacy of conservation we leave to our kids, the ESA requires the federal government to identify species threatened with extinction, identify habitat they need to survive and help protect both.

Mr. Pearce was wrong on this issue the last time he was in office and he is wrong on it again now. The truth is, nothing is more attractive to a wolf than the sound of its suckling and playing pups. Noting is more attractive to a wolf than being free from human persecution to satisfy the role in nature it evolved to fill.

Rep. Pearce's 2011 proposal to sidestep the restoration of this native species deserves the same resounding rejection as his previous attempt.

Walter "Ski" Szymanski - Silver City