US wildlife officials to update rule for endangered Mexican wolves
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. wildlife officials will be looking for public comment as they prepare to update a rule that guides management of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced April 14 it will be working on a supplemental environmental review of the 2015 rule, which outlines when and how the wolves can be removed from the wild or released from captivity.
The process was prompted by a 2018 court decision that ordered the agency to take another look at the rule to ensure wolf recovery in Arizona and New Mexico isn't compromised. The court set a dead-line of May 2021 to finalize a revised rule.
The federal agency said it will be considering comments on release recommendations, population ob-jectives and the genetic implications on the population of removing wolves that rack up three strikes for repeated conflicts with livestock.
Environmentalists are hopeful the revisions will limit the circumstances for which the predators can be removed from the wild and clear the way for the release of more family packs.
Ranchers and some rural residents have been critical of the reintroduction effort, saying wolf-livestock conflicts are only escalating as the population grows.
There are more than 160 wolves roaming in the two states. Recovery goals call for about twice that along with a small population in Mexico.
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