New Hope for the wolf in Texas

Mexican wolf pup born at the El Paso Zoo on April 20, 2021.

An exciting new effort to help bring back the wolf to Texas made its mark with the US Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this month at a public hearing.   Hope Carr is the Education Manager at the Austin Zoo and is chair of the Texas Lobo Coalition, a non-profit group focused on working with landowners and other important stakeholders in Texas in putting together a plan to help restore part of the Chihuahuan Desert Ecoregion with an important apex predator that has been missing from the landscape for over 50 years. 

Wolf advocates across the country spoke out on wolf recovery at US Fish and Wildlife Department public meetings that have also been posted online.   You can read Hope’s comments below and listen to her by watching the virtual hearing on YouTube (above) and then scrolling over to the part where she speaks at around 2:12:15.

Hope Carr is the Board of Directors Chair with the Texas Lobo Coalition.

Comments by Hope Carr

My name is Hope Carr, I am the chairperson for the Texas Lobo Coalition. We are a newly founded non-profit organization dedicated to reintroducing the Mexican gray wolf to a portion of its historic range in West Texas through collaboration with stakeholders and government entities. Currently, it is against Texas law for wolves to be released in Texas; however, we feel this is a violation of the Endangered Species Act, which should be providing a framework to protect endangered species and their habitats. Mexican gray wolves historically played a role as key apex predators throughout much of west Texas prior to being extirpated in the 1970s. They should be re-established in a portion of this range. We understand many stakeholders will have concerns, and even openly oppose such efforts, but we believe that by initially introducing a small, managed population and offering mitigation in the cases of livestock losses, we can achieve a harmonious reintroduction. 

The current population of Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona is inadequate to support the genetic diversity that is absolutely crucial for the survival of this essential species. An essential species, particularly one with a role as an apex predator, should not be “capped,” but rather managed in a manner that allows them to reach their natural carrying capacity. This species should be allowed to roam to expand into their entire historic range, including West Texas, under government protection. Furthermore, an experimental management area should absolutely be included in West Texas. This would not only expand their area of benefit, but could also provide a route to connect populations between the U.S. and Mexico, further bolstering genetic diversity and gene flow. 

Wolves may never inhabit as many places as they once did due to human expansion; however, currently little is done to help wolf populations succeed. The USFWS should be doing much more to ensure their survival. Ranchers and stakeholders in wolf-populated areas should be supported, and required, by the USFWS to pursue non-lethal conflict avoidance techniques. More funding should be provided to law enforcement efforts limiting poaching of wolves. Finally, education is the key to the success of any species. The USFWS should be providing outreach education programs for the communities that will be most impacted by reintroductions. The success of this species will not be possible without the aforementioned changes being made by the USFWS. 

Learn more

To learn more about the Texas Lobo Coalition visit their website and read through the Frequently Asked Questions section.   To stay informed you can also subscribe to the blog with your email.

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