ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Federal wildlife managers want to release two packs of Mexican gray wolves in wilderness areas near the Arizona-New Mexico border this year in an effort to bolster a struggling population threatened by inbreeding.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released details this week of its latest plan, saying it will submit public comments currently being gathered along with a request to the state of New Mexico for a permit to release the animals.
It will ultimately be up to New Mexico and a federal court whether the releases happen since the state and the agency are locked in a legal battle over the endangered predator, marking just the latest skirmish in a broader fight over states’ rights and the Endangered Species Act.
In a case before a federal appeals court, New Mexico and 18 other states argue that the law requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to cooperate with them on how endangered species are reintroduced within their borders. Federal attorneys contend the law allows the agency to go around a state, if necessary, to save a species.