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AZ: Arizona To Continue Supporting Wolf Recovery Program

Story By Mark Duggan

The Mexican wolf reintroduction program is a joint effort of state and federal officials to try to recover the species in the Southwest.

Arizona’s Game and Fish Commission renewed its support of the program last week by a 3-1 vote. But commissioners also said they can’t support placing any more wolves in Arizona until a new recovery plan is completed. A new team was recently assigned by federal wildlife officials to do just that.

Arizona wildlife officials want the revised recovery plan to include an environmental impact statement and a new rule governing wolf populations. Commission members also told a federal wildlife official that they feel left out of some important decisions.

Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southwest region, appeared before the commission to answer questions.

The Mexican gray wolf was listed as an endangered species in 1978. The wolf once ranged over a large part of Arizona and the Southwest before being driven to near extinction by the late 1960s.