The annual Mexican gray wolf population survey in Alpine, Ariz., shows that poaching is slowing the species’ recovery.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – After repeated failures over decades, U.S. wildlife officials have finally drafted a recovery plan for endangered wolves that once roamed parts of the American Southwest and northern Mexico.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is under a court order to complete the plan for the Mexican gray wolf by the end of November.
The draft document released Thursday calls for focusing recovery of the wolves in core areas of the predators’ historic range. That means south of Interstate 40 in the two states and in Mexico. The document also addresses threats, such as genetic diversity.
“At the time of recovery, the service expects Mexican wolf populations to be stable or increasing in abundance, well-distributed geographically within their historical range, and genetically diverse,” the agency said in a statement.
The recovery plan is a long time coming as the original guidance for how to restore wolves to the Southwest was adopted in 1982.
The lack of a plan has spurred numerous legal challenges by environmentalists as well as skirmishes over states’ rights under the Endangered Species Act.
Acknowledging the discord, regional Fish and Wildlife Service officials say the proposed recovery plan calls…
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