The Fish & Wildlife Service just announced that there are only 52 gray wolves in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. The endangered gray wolf had been reintroduced into these areas in 1998, and FWS and environmentalists had hoped that by the end of 2006, the wolves would number at least 100.
Instead, wolves have been killed or removed for killing or threatening livestock, or for leaving their narrow reintroduction area, with 19 wolves shot or trapped by Fish and Wildlife in 2007 alone. In 2008, on the other hand, because the government did not kill any wolves, ranchers took the law into their own hands and illegally shot at least 5, which brings the total of wolves illegally shot to 30 since the program began.
As long as federal wildlife policy continues to view wildlife, even endangered animals such as the gray wolf, as being less worthy of protection than the ranchers' profits, wolves will continue to die. The feds need to expand the wolves' area and clamp down on the killings in order to allow this majestic animal to survive.
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