By Sylvia Gonzalez
GRADY, TEXAS - Few animals evoke images of the wild like wolves and now one group would like to reintroduce the Mexican Grey Wolf into this part of Texas. The move has taken many by surprise, including ranchers who say it could put their livelihood at risk.
The Mexican Grey Wolf Recovery Program is an effort by the Center for Biological Diversity to reintroduce wolves into this region. If it happens it would affect 49 counties in the area -- including Midland and Ector County.
"I think it's going to be a big problem, I think it's just a mistake," local rancher, Ruben Perez, said.
Perez has been raising these goats in Grady for over nine years. He says they already have a hard time keeping up with coyotes sneaking onto the ranch and killing not only the goats but cattle as well. He believes it will be much harder to scare off wolves if they are reintroduced to this area.
"The wolves are capable of taking down a large animal like a big steer or a pretty size calf. I don't wanna go out there hunting wolves, like I said before, we got enough problems with coyotes already," Perez said.
Perez is not the only person concerned with wolves being reintroduced to this area, the Texas Sheep and Goat Association is also raising some eyebrows.
"Our problem is this is the best areas for livestock production in the state, and it is vitally important that we do everything we can to protect animal agricultural and private property rights in that area," Sandy Whittley, Executive Secretary of the Sheep and Goat Association, said.
Whittley says there is already a predator problem in the Big Bend Area and introducing an even bigger predator will just create more problems.
Although the proposal has been pulled back by the Center for Biological Diversity, she says she is not sure they won't change their mind in the future.
"There is not one of us that is naive enough to think they are not going to come back at us, because the Fish and Wildlife, they don't let go unless you make them let go. So, we are going to fight it along with New Mexico and Arizona and keep them from getting all of West Texas," Whittley said.
Whittley is recommending that any rancher who is against the proposal should contact their county commissioners. They can then be urged to pass a resolution opposing the Southwestern Gray Wolf Management Plan.