Halt of Wolf Releases Moves to Federal District Court

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LAS CRUCES – In an effort to thwart the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) removed the department’s application to temporarily halt future Mexican wolf releases into New Mexico from state to federal court late Friday. The department’s application alleges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) ignored state and federal laws last month by importing and releasing two Mexican wolves without first obtaining required state permits.

Under New Mexico law, the importation and release of non-domesticated animals requires a permit from the department and federal law instructs the USFWS to consult with the states and obtain necessary permits before releasing wildlife.

“Although we anticipated this move,” said Department Director Alexandra Sandoval, “we believe recent actions by the USFWS violate state and federal law. A review of the state law violations certainly belongs in state court. Regardless of venue, we are committed to pursuing this matter.”

The department originally filed the application in the state’s 7th Judicial District Court. It has since been moved to the U.S. District Court in Las Cruces.

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