Trump Administration’s Recovery Plan Based on Politics, Not Science
The peer-reviewed study authored by Carlos Carroll of the Klamath Center for Conservation Research and other experts, published today in Scientific Reports, found that political interference led to unambitious recovery plan objectives for the Mexican wolf. The recovery plan objectives were compromised in part because they were generated by Trump administration political appointees, not just scientists.
As the study states: “Recovery plan goals based on politics rather than science slow Mexican wolf recovery by allowing the agency to forego opportunities to establish new populations in suitable habitat and to underestimate the number of wolves that need to be released from captivity into the wild population to improve genetic health.”
“It’s deeply disturbing that Mexican wolves’ future may be severely harmed by political corruption,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Ongoing political interference by Trump officials threatens to drive the Mexican wolf closer to extinction.”
On Jan. 30, 2018, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies sued the Trump administration in the Arizona U.S. District Court to challenge the inadequacies of the 2017 Mexican wolf recovery plan. The lawsuit notes that the plan is not science-based, does not adequately address ongoing threats to Mexican wolves, and will not lead to Mexican wolf recovery. This suit is ongoing.
“This study underscores that the Mexican wolf’s recovery plan goals aren’t based in science and are completely inadequate,” said Santarsiere. “The Fish and Wildlife Service needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a science-based plan that will truly put Mexican wolves on the path to recovery.”
Mexican wolves are one of the most imperiled mammals in North America and have been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act since 1976. As of the end of 2018, only 131 wolves were estimated to be living in the wild in the United States, in a small area of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. They continue to be threatened by low genetic diversity and poaching.