FWS hires known wolf killer to help with removals

Contacts:

Amy Harwood, Lobos of the Southwest, 503-484-4850

Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club, Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter, 602-999-5790

Greta Anderson, Western Watersheds Project, 520-623-1878

Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center, 914-763-2373 x200

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This past Friday, long-time wolf advocates came across a request for public input on the intent for the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Mexican Wolf Recovery Team to contract Bill Nelson Wildlife Control to assist in trapping, capturing and radio collaring of wolves. The USFWS claims to be understaffed for an increasing need. The announcement reasoned that the contract did not need to be filled through an open bidding due to Nelson’s expertise from  working for USDA’s Wildlife Services. Public input on the contracting was welcome until August 28th, 2pm.

Records on Bill Nelson Wildlife Control available here>>>

Several individuals and organizations have expressed fury over the decision to retain Bill Nelson due to his history and grave concern for Mexican wolves and the recovery effort with his influence. They submitted the following letter today on behalf of their membership:

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August 27, 2019

Lisa Rodriguez,Contract Specialist, Acquisition Goods and Services Operations, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, lisa_rodriguez@fws.gov

Amy Lueders, SW Regional Director, US Fish & Wildlife Service, RDLueders@fws.gov

Brady McGee, Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator, US Fish & Wildlife Service, brady_mcgee@fws.gov

To Mrs. Rodriguez, Director Lueders and Mr. McGee:

Last week, it came to our attention that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was seeking input on the decision to issue a sole source award to Bill Nelson Wildlife Control (DUNS# 117125795) out of Datil, New Mexico to assist the agency with trapping, capturing and radio collaring of endangered Mexican wolves. Does the agency actually plan to hire an alleged wolf killer for these sensitive services to the program? At best, he is simply unqualified because he cannot distinguish between a coyote and a Mexican wolf. But based on the following incidents, we don’t believe that this contractor should have anything to do with helping the USFWS fulfill their obligation of Mexican wolf recovery.

  • In 2007, while employed as a USDA Wildlife Services predator control officer, there was reporting that he allegedly pointed a rifle at a New Mexico Game and Fish biologist after he had killed a wolf and she tried to tell him that the kill order of a wolf (AF 924) had been rescinded.

  • And in January 2013, he is known to have illegally and undisputedly killed an endangered Mexican gray wolf (MW 1288) while under the employment of the USDA Wildlife Services agency. The fact that he was not prosecuted does not reduce the illegality of his killing of the wolf.

Although he was protected under the “McKittrick policy” and was never prosecuted for killing the wolf, it would seem that this would at least make him ineligible to be able to turn around, just six years later, and profit from his inept ability to identify an endangered Mexican wolf.

This past year has seen an increase in illegal killings of Mexican wolves. These killings disrupt the packs, creating a disturbance to wolf behavior that correlates to increasing depredation of cattle. And this depredation then increases the social intolerance and likelihood of more illegal killings. This cycle MUST be stopped. Bringing on a person who has already illegally killed a Mexican wolf for the sensitive work of trapping and collaring wolves is showing people that the US Fish & Wildlife will overlook such grave errors. It is unacceptable.

Do not spend more of the agency’s limited funds on more trapping and capturing. Put these funds immediately towards increasing engagement of experts who can help with non-lethal wolf conflict resolution methods.

Sincerely,

Amy Harwood, Lobos of the Southwest; amy@mexicanwolves.org

Emily Renn, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project; (928) 202-1325, emily@gcwolfrecovery.org

Roz Switzer, Middle Gila Broadband Leader/Great Old Broads For Wilderness; switzerroz@gmail.com

Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center; maggie@nywolf.org

Kelly Burke, Wild Arizona; kelly@azwild.org

Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club, Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter; (602) 999-5790, sandy.bahr@sierraclub.org

Greta Anderson, Western Watersheds Project; (520) 623-1878, greta@westernwatersheds.org

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