By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
A wolf that once roamed parts of the American Southwest and northern Mexico would be removed from the list of federally protected species under legislation proposed by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake.
The Arizona Republican introduced the measure last week. He’s a critic of the Mexican gray wolf recovery plan, calling it a regulatory nightmare for ranchers and rural communities.
The bill calls for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine if a population of fewer than 100 wolves has been established along the Arizona-New Mexico border. If so, the predator would be considered recovered and removed from the endangered list.
Environmentalists say it’s an attempt to sidestep the Endangered Species Act.
According to the most recent survey, an estimated 113 wolves roam parts of Arizona and New Mexico.