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Advocates Worry Success Could be Latest Threat for Gray Wolves

posted May 17, 2017, 9:50 PM by chloe owens

3/9/17, by Joseph Guzman, Cronkite News

Advocates worry success could be latest threat for gray wolves

Populations of endangered Mexican gray wolves have reached their highest numbers since reintroduction efforts began nearly 20 years ago, but rather than cheer the success, environmentalists are worried it could backfire on the struggling animals. With wolf numbers – and wolf predation – on the rise, state, local and cattle industry officials have renewed their push to have a greater say in controlling its population. The Fish and Wildlife Service said last month that there were 113 Mexican gray wolves throughout Arizona and New Mexico in 2016, an increase from the 97 counted a year earlier. But Robinson said that although the species’ growth last year is encouraging, there need to be more in the wild to ensure genetic diversity and the animal’s survival. “Scientists have been saying there is a real genetic problem here,” Robinson said. “They have pointed to studies that have shown there are fewer wolf pups being born and of the ones that are born, fewer of those are surviving to maturity as a result of genetic factors.”… “You need cattleman, sportsman and others at the table, because at the end of the day, the government still gets a paycheck and the rest of us on the other side of the table have to live and deal with their messes,” Bray said.