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PNS Daily Newscast - April 20, 2018 


The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to congress. Also on our rundown: more evidence that the rent is too, damn, high; Marathon County braces for sulfide mining; and the focus on recycling this weekend for Earth Day in North Dakota.

Daily Newscasts

What's Next for Endangered Mexican Gray Wolves?

The large populations of gray wolves that once roamed the Southwest were killed off because of the threat they posed to cattle ranchers. (earthjustice.org)
The large populations of gray wolves that once roamed the Southwest were killed off because of the threat they posed to cattle ranchers. (earthjustice.org)
December 4, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Several advocate groups have filed an intent to sue the U.S. government over the Mexican gray wolf recovery plan released last week. They now have 60 days to submit the paperwork.

The goal set forth in the government's recovery plan is to have an average of 320 Mexican gray wolves in the wild over several years before the predator can shed its status as an endangered species. But Bryan Bird, Southwest program director with Defenders of Wildlife, said wolf biologists estimate at least 750 wolves are needed to meet that goal.

He said the Trump administration's plan has been politicized and won't guarantee recovery of one of the most endangered mammal species in North America.

"To me, it further demonstrates this plan was pretty much everything the anti-wolf interests could have wanted - beyond not having any wolves,” Bird said.

The large populations of gray wolves that once roamed the Southwest were killed off because of the threat they posed to cattle ranchers in the region.

Bird said environmental groups reviewed more than 100,000 comments submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and found that 99 percent were in favor of a strong recovery plan for the wolves or allowing more wolves to be reintroduced.

The government's recovery plan limits wolf habitat to areas south of Interstate 40, despite a science advisory group's recommendation that habitat extend into northern New Mexico, southern Colorado and the Grand Canyon region.

Bird said he believes the limited habitat will hinder wolf recovery.

"It was a politically driven result instead of a science driven result,” he said. “And the Endangered Species Act doesn't envision that - doesn't allow that."

The wild Mexican gray wolf was considered extinct in the U.S. until 1998, when small numbers were reintroduced into New Mexico and Arizona. Estimates say 113 wolves now live in the region.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM