Federal officials have agreed not to try to capture and relocate wolves that enter Arizona, from Mexico. The United States Fish and
Wildlife Service has been involved in a reintroduction program for the wolves
for nearly two decades, but the announcement that Mexico was launching its own
reintroduction program, just south of the border, caused complications. Fish
and Wildlife decided unilaterally to capture any wolves wandering up from the
border, an act Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity says is
prohibited by the Endangered Species Act.
“The problem with this is
that these wolves, under the law, are fully protected, and you can't simply
sacrifice them under the law for special interests, in this case, the livestock
industry,” Robinson said.
On Monday, a deal was signed
giving any wandering wolves from Mexico protected status without fear of relocation. Robinson says it's
unknown how many wolves from Mexico
are in Arizona and New Mexico, but he
believes their presence could
reintroduction plans, where the small population of just 75 wolves is being
victimized by inbreeding, resulting in small litters.