20 years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began re-introducing Mexican Gray wolves in the American southwest, throughout Arizona and New Mexico.
On Friday, the FWS released a survey indicating that there are at least 113 Mexican gray wolves roaming that territory now, more than at any time in the last 20 years.
“We are encouraged by these numbers. But these 2016 results demonstrate we are still not out of the woods,” Fish and Wildlife Service regional director Benjamin Tuggle said in a statement.
“More work needs to be done to ensure the population grows by about 10 percent each year.” Tuggle added.
The agency is currently planning to release two more packs of Mexican gray wolves into the area to bolster their still-struggling numbers.
The state government of New Mexico will need to sign off on the addition of these two packs. The state’s court system has yet to issue a ruling on the matter.
The survey shows that about 50 wild-born pups managed to survive 2016, up from just 25 in 2015. There are 21 total packs in New Mexico and about 63 wolves in Arizona.
Numerous threats still exist to the wolves, primarily illegal hunting. Ranchers have roundly criticized the agency for reintroducing the wolves, as they pose a threat to their livestock.
Still, here at tentree, we like to see wildlife protected and allowed to roam freely in their territory. There must be a good solution to the problems ranchers are having without resorting to illegally killing the wolves.