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For now, no more wolves for Arizona

October 11, 2010 |  9:16 am

The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife has delayed releasing additional Mexican gray wolves in Arizona until sometime next year.

The gray-wolf population is stagnating in the Southwest, and the animal is vilified by some ranchers as an unwelcome predator being reintroduced to the region by the government. The federal government late last week agreed with the Arizona Game and Fish Department that the release of a pack of eight wolves in southeastern Arizona should be postponed.

Federal officials said there was no consensus on where the wolves would be released and they had not scheduled a new date. "It just wasn't the right time for a successful release," a spokesman told the Associated Press.

A survey this year found only 42 wolves in the wild, a 19% decline from last year. Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity blasted the delay. “Continuing to postpone this wolf family’s release casts fresh doubts on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s commitment to recovering this highly endangered and iconic animal of the Southwest,” he said.

-- Nicholas Riccardi


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Photo: Annie Belt / Center for Biological Diversity