SILVER CITY, N.M.— House Republicans have launched a legislative effort to require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide whether Mexican gray and red wolves are truly distinct species — despite a complete lack of science questioning that status. The language is buried in a report accompanying proposed Interior Department funding legislation.
The Fish and Wildlife Service would be required, within 60 days, to review and determine whether the Mexican gray wolf is a genetically valid subspecies and whether the red wolf is a genetically valid species. The Service would need to produce a report for Congress within one year.
“This Republican attempt to discredit the sound science on Mexican gray and red wolves is part of a despicable strategy to strip protections from the two species,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This review would be a total waste of agency resources.”
The agency reviewed the taxonomic status of the red wolf five years ago and the Mexican wolf just two years ago, reaffirming both. For the Mexican gray wolf, five genetic analyses conducted since 1996 have confirmed it is a valid subspecies of the gray wolf. Similar studies have been conducted for the red wolf.
“Far-right House Republicans like my own congressman Steve Pearce in southern New Mexico and Paul Gosar in neighboring Arizona are trying to stir the pot for their few die-hard, anti-wolf constituents,” said Robinson. “They may enjoy debating whether the Mexican wolf is real, but making the Fish and Wildlife Service jump through more hoops takes time away from the work of saving the Mexican wolf from extinction. This silly request should be dropped.”