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8/2/2013 6:00:00 AM
Supervisor: No wolves in Mohave County
And if there are, they must be spayed or neutered
Gary Watson
Gary Watson
Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Mohave County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Watson insists he's not joking about asking the federal government to vaccinate, license, tag and sterilize any Mexican gray wolves brought into the county as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's plan to reintroduce the animals to western states.

Watson said he put the item on Monday's Board agenda in order to get feedback from the rest of the supervisors. The Board meets at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.

"I will do whatever it takes to prevent them from coming here," Watson said. "If they're going to introduce a canine to Mohave County they're going to have to follow the same rules as everyone else. I'm not trying to make a joke. This is the last thing I could think of to get it through to (Fish and Wildlife) that we don't want them in Mohave County."

Calls to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife office in Albuquerque, which is in charge of the gray wolf reintroduction program, were not returned before deadline.

The Mexican gray wolf was listed as an endangered species in 1976. The animal was reintroduced to the wild from a breeding program in the U.S. in 1998.

There are now approximately 75 wolves living in Arizona and New Mexico, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The federal government wants to have at least 100 wolves in the wild before ending the program.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced earlier this year that it was studying the possibility of expanding the area that the wolves are allowed to roam from its current 7,000 acres in the Apache National Forest near the New Mexico/Arizona border to a much larger area between Interstate 40 and Interstate 10 in Arizona and New Mexico.

The Board of Supervisors sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services asking to be part of the study process last month.

Arizona ranchers and hunters have opposed the expansion, saying it will endanger cattle and wildlife.

Mohave County has a long history of cattle ranching and wolves are known to prey on cattle, especially calves.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website, the German shepherd-sized canines also prey on deer, elk and smaller mammals.

Watson said his district alone has at least 200 cattle ranchers. Some of those moved to the county from areas around Yellowstone National Park, where gray wolves were reintroduced several years ago.

"Some of them were never reimbursed for the cattle, horses, or pets that they lost, or for the decrease in the value of their ranch," Watson said.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website, in order to be reimbursed, ranchers and other citizens have to report a wolf attack to the service and save the evidence from the attack.

After a department investigator verifies the claim, the rancher has to fill out and sent in paperwork to get reimbursed. Payment ranges from $800 for a calf to $2,500 for a bull.

The fair market price of a cow or bull is based on how much the animal weighs.

Pet owners are usually not reimbursed for the loss of their pets to wolves.

The federal government also prohibits people from shooting Mexican gray wolves unless they are in the act of attacking livestock on private land or are attacking a human. Violators face a $50,000 fine.

People are allowed to try to chase a wolf away by throwing stones at it or shooting near it, but the animal cannot be harmed in the process.

Ranchers and citizens can apply for a permit to kill or trap a wolf on public land if they can show that there has been a problem with wolves killing livestock.

Any wolf that has been killed or trapped must be reported to U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

The service also removes and relocates problem wolves.

But its not just the loss of cattle that has Watson worried.

"This is a larger issue than ranchers," he said. "This is about the safety of Mohave County citizens. These are dangerous animals."

He pointed to a July story in the New Mexico Cattlemen's Association Newsletter. The story is written by Crystal Diamond, who lives on the Beaverhead Ranch in New Mexico.

She describes several run-ins she and her neighbors have had with Mexican gray wolves that were reintroduced to the area, including one situation in January 2012 where a wolf actually circled her car with her two small, crying children in it, for 15 minutes while she was stopped at the side of the road. She had stopped to take care of a carsick child.

"If they're going to introduce them in areas that are populated, what are they going to do to protect the citizens of Mohave County?" Watson asked. "What are they going to do to prevent wolves from crossing I-40?

"This is detrimental to the health and welfare of Mohave County citizens. The people in my district don't want them here."

According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, it's rare for a healthy gray wolf to attack a human.

The animals can spread diseases such as rabies. However, U.S. Fish and Wildlife vaccinates and radio collars the wolves it releases.

ICT - Mohave Electric WI_Power Boy 233x388
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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Article comment by: julie sedich

iI understand kingman is a ranching town, be that does nt mean we can TRY to keep up with these efforts some how maybe come into the 21st centry !!! these wolves are on the verge of extiction !!! i have lived here for 50 years now and can honestly say i am ashamed of how this town is run !! shame on you gary waston i thought you were better than that !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i have known your family my entire life and i am sure some of them are ashamed too !!!

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: just think

forget about the wolves. why dont you do something about increasing the transit system in the butler area. cant some of the lottery money go to run buses?

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: Nancy Hussey

Why would we want to introduce more wolves? We already have hybrid wolves running around and I have seen just plain dogs chasing cattle in my area. The wolves aren't going to bother the city people. in our rural areas they are going to eat goats, cattle, other livestock and pets that are easy to catch. Just another way for the government to spend our tax money!!!!

Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Article comment by: ranchers daughter

For those of you that want to complain about Ranchers need to know the fact about how ranchers take care of their cattle. If there isn't enough feed for the cattle then these rancher feed them supplements and hay until the next big rain when the feed starts to come back. The government will do a grazing check kingman the. To make sure they aren't over grazing. They check on the cattle that are "defending themselves " daily. This has been a ranching community for years. If you didn't like the free range law then you shouldn't of bought a house in the middle of cattle country! For the people hitting the cattle maybe they should drive the speed limit and pay attention to what's in the road! These wolves are a bad idea! Yes they William kill off the wildlife and cattle. When they have killed off the wildlife in the mountains they will start coming to town to eat your pets and hurt your small children. You people will be the first to start yelling when they attack a couple hiking with dog in the mmountians. They will be protected under endangered so you cab kill them if you are being attacked or your pet. I think you people need to stop blaming the ranchers for everything and take a long look in the mirror.

Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Article comment by: Ronald Folck

Mr Watson, I would very happy to talk to you if you want.

Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Article comment by: Oh Ya

@ NOT Impressed

WHEN will Man STOP trying to play " God " with Nature ?

I absolutely agree! Once they are reintroduced, then man should not be out performing genocide on them because they killed a cow! They would not have had to be reintroduced if "Man" hadn't played god in the interest of personal profits as the BOS is doing. Think about how it feels to have people messing with your pocketbook Mr. BOS when the next tax proposal comes around.

Posted: Monday, August 5, 2013
Article comment by: Johnny Chagdes

I am one of those residents that would love to see them reintroduced ... perhaps on the backside of the hualapais. I can understand the concern from the ranchers and the potential for loss. But if you would venture out between Blake Ranch and DW Ranch road and see how many cattle have been added there you may actually think that they have introduced too many cattle and they are destoying the habitat. When I was much younger, I remember seeing the last grey wolf that was stuffed in a Valentine shop that was killed near the turn of the 20th century ... they are beautiful animals and once lived near our peaks. Mr. Watson, if you are so concerned about these wolves, where is the concern over the mountain lions ... they are bigger and kill more than a wolf.

Posted: Monday, August 5, 2013
Article comment by: Reality Twentytwo

Wolf pimps such as you typically fall into one OR MORE of the following categories:

The ones that benefit from a "Donate Now" button being pressed or a book they have written.

The ones that are on the Government dole and benefit from the increase tax dollars being spent cleaning up after these vermin or additional funding for studies.

The ones that benefit from the gross amount of tax dollars being spent on litigation like EAJA dollars we spend on rich environmental lawyers.

Or, the ones that have a bigoted hate for sportsman, ranchers and/or farmers.

Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013
Article comment by: Watson is a big mistake

Gary Watson, is this idiotic idea of yours an attempt to just get Mohave County into the news? If so, I am very sad that I voted for you. Maybe one of the other candidates would have had a more reasonable approach to county affairs.

Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013
Article comment by: Recall Mr. Idiot

If Watson wasn’t so buddy-buddy with his rancher friends who gave him money to run for the BOS, he would be singing a different tune. Does Watson believe that by singing a piece of paper, the Federal Government will do what he wants? Watson it is becoming apparent you are an idiot and don’t know what to say or do. You’re an embarrassment to Mohave County. Maybe the citizen should demand you are neutered.

Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013
Article comment by: seriously wow

"The animals can spread diseases such as rabies. However, U.S. Fish and Wildlife vaccinates and radio collars the wolves it releases." and their cubs won't be vacinated. Wolves are beautiful, but if you think a coyote is a problem, you have no business approving of wolves. Wolves are pretty, but dangerous. They, unlike coyotes can take down a full grown horse in a pen. We have lots of horses in this county penned up not to mention our small wild horse population and they will be defenseless. You say well shoot em when you see them trying to kill your horse, ok, well what about when no one is home. Who is going to protect your horses then? The wild horse population we have has never had to worry about wolves. Neither has our fox population. You really want to introduce a species that is going to seriously impact our eco system? Wolves can dig under fences can jump fences better than any coyote and are far more dangerous. And I am a wildlife advocate.

Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

Well out of 33 comments so far only 4 folks think Watson has a good issue or point here. I would have to agree Watson is biased by the cattle folks. Really now what do you expect from a good old boy and this has always been my concern about Watson. I would agrre with the commentator who suggested some of the Watson minions need to be sterilized. The only gray wolve we need to concern ourselves with is this guy who sits on the BOS like an artifact that we just can't get rid of. I guess Mr.Watson was just needing some press coverage and to get his picture in the newspaper.

Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013
Article comment by: Wiley Coyote

Good comments.

Mohave County is poor rangeland and Big Beef needs Big Govt. handouts to survive.

During recent years in Mohave County, Big Beef has enjoyed over $1,450,000.00 in taxpayer funded government subsidies. This doesn't include the property tax breaks that other land owners have to cover for, or the sweet grazing rights deals on public lands that help generate those big dust storms. It also doesn't include the helicopter fuel for predator management costs and the so called management, AKA trophy hunting, of native wildlife that compete with cattle for limited feed. Nor does it include the unnatural wildfire suppression costs to save slow dumb cows that can't outrun fires. It also doesn't count the costs of higher health insurance and chronic medical expenses incurred by those who are too lazy or ignorant to moderate their consumption of underpriced red meat.

Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013
Article comment by: NOT Impressed

The reintroduction of these Wolves in Yellowstone has been a HUGE failure , in the BIG picture !
While these Wolves have thrived where they were reintroduced , the problem is . . . .
Apparently nobody told said Wolves that they were NOT to leave the Park .
These Wolves ( ALOT larger than " German shepherd-sized canines " have spread out of Yellowstone`s boundaries . They`ve RUINED the Elk herds in Idaho and Montana . Which once were vastly abundant .
WHEN will Man STOP trying to play " God " with Nature ?
We all remeber the Gnat debaucle in Bullhead , years ago , don`t we ?

Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013
Article comment by: Vock Wash

My unscientific survey based on the respondents so far of the question at hand in this artical of for or agienst reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolves is: 30 yea, 5 nay.
This includes my vote of yes for wolves.

Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013
Article comment by: Feel Sorry

I am really sorry for the open range cattle in Mohave County, especially up North Stockton
Hill Road. The cattle may look healthy for a while but after being on their own for a short time they become skinny & sickly. I would say there is not enough edible plant life to sustain them. It seems the "ranchers" just turn the animals out to fend for themselves. The cattle get hit by vehicles & left to die or die because they are sick, either case they are just left to rot at the side of the road. I would think it was the rancher's responsibility to remove the carcass.
It's very sad.

Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Rabies have been a issue for a long time that's why we vaccinate dogs, cats etc., one can worry more about rodents carrying the bubonic plague which not to long ago a wild life biologist died from this after skinning a mountain lion who had died and it was a barely single story and nothing more, northern Arizona has a much more disease issue with bubonic plague than rabies!

Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013
Article comment by: Walter Kinkle

Only from a right -wing republican do we hear such lies about the mexican wolf. The mexican wolf was roaming this area alot longer than the cattle have done. Maybe we should sterilize our county supervisor and all the cattle ranchers. The reason being is that the cattle has destroyed the enviorment more than a mexican wolf. If cattle wants to be part of the biodiversity, then it has to be a food source for the mexican wolfs. Other wise it is a introduced species that should be removed from the ecologlcaly area.

Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013
Article comment by: Christine Baker

Watson allegedly said:

""If they're going to introduce them in areas that are populated, what are they going to do to protect the citizens of Mohave County?" Watson asked. "What are they going to do to prevent wolves from crossing I-40?"

What is supervisor Watson doing to prevent COWS from crossing the road?

How many people have DIED because they ran into a cow?

And what is the big deal if a wolf crosses I-40? So do rabbits, coyotes, deer and even people ...

I vote for the wolves despite the fact that I live way out in the desert.

Get those darn cows off the roads and out of our gardens!

Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013
Article comment by: irene sette

Watson’s statement is STUPID! Science and nature show wolves are necessary in the wild. In YNP, the benefits of wolves are clear. Wildlife and vegetation not seen in decades has begun to return. Deer and Elk herds are stronger, and continue to relocate, thus preventing over grazing, so streams have begun to run cleaner. Wolves provide a healthier, NATURAL balanced habit.
The U.S.FW already vaccinate and collars wolves prior to releasing. Sterilizing wolves would obliterate the purpose of the releasing plan. There’re only 75 Mexican Grays in the wild, the releasing of more would prevent interbreeding, and strengthen the genetic pool. This would help in the PREVENTION of the wolves’ extinction. The Mexican Grays are the MOST endangered mammal in the U.S., because of people like Watson, and their lack of respect and willingness to understand, protect and treasure nature. Wolves are endangered because man the true predator kills for pleasure and trophies.
In Oregon, where wolf hunts are banned there’s a decline in cattle killed by predators. Ranchers are d to using fencing, and alarm boxes. Also, the USFWS removes and relocates problem wolves. Maybe we should start to sterilize ignorant people, that would stop the endangering of animals.

Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013
Article comment by: A Serious Thought

"It seems that these wolves became endangered species for a reason."

Yes, and if you did a little research you would know it wasn't the environment that caused their demise. You can thank the Europeans for that.

Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013
Article comment by: David Shellenberger

Many of us support the restoration and preservation of wolves. Wolves are intrinsically valuable, but they also provide ecological and economic benefits (the latter through wildlife tourism).

Beware of government officials who favor special interests over the public interest. Ranchers can use non-lethal means tom protect livestock. Hunters can recognize that predators benefit prey species, including deer and elk.

Let us embrace wolves! This is the moral path.

Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013
Article comment by: someone in arizona

This is a stupid issue. Having them sterlized! The point is for them to repopulate. I am not againt rabies vacine but why let an endangered animal become extinct! If mohave county is a place they think could turn this around then do it. We have lived and SURVIVED with them for thousands of years.

Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013
Article comment by: Joan Cornett

I vote for the wolves. There are always cycles in nature. Droughts, rain and nature works itself out. They were here first and have a right to exist and reproduce and thrive and do what they were created to do, keep a balance in nature. What part of the fact that the wolves were here first doesn't this man understand? There is plenty of room to coexist (livestock guardian dogs and fencing) with these magnificent predators who keep a balance in nature. Remember what nature is?

Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013
Article comment by: L M

Ranchers are disgusting and humans have screwed up this ecology in many ways. Animal agriculture pollutes more than all other land based industrial pollution combined. Wolves have been treated like they are the nuisance when we were the ones invading their land in the first place. Humans should learn a bit about ecology, biology and science.

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