Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Comment period extended for Mexican gray wolf plan

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service has re-opened a public comment period on a five-year review of an effort to reintroduce the endangered Mexican gray wolf in the Southwest.

The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service began releasing wolves into the wild along the Arizona-New Mexico border in 1998 to re-establish the species in part of its historic range.

As of the end of 2005, there were an estimated 35 to 49 wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.

The five-year review of the reintroduction program recommends expanding the range in which the animals are allowed.
The program is awaiting a response from the Fish and Wildlife Service, which has given the public another 14 days -- until May 30th -- to comment.

Ranchers have objected to wolf reintroduction, contending the animals threaten their livestock and that expanding the program could jeopardize more ranchers as well as population centers.