"The Fish and Wildlife Service would like to see us shut up and take our medicine," said Laura Schneberger, a rancher who heads the Gila Livestock Growers Association.Indeed, the majority of Arizonans and New Mexicans would like to see Mexican gray wolves recovered in the wild. The whining (but gun-toting) naysayers get a lot of grease, but generally, little support outside of Catron County. Everyone knows those folks are cuckoo.
Still, the wolf program is undoubtedly at a crossroads:
Twelve years after Mexican gray wolves were reintroduced in Eastern Arizona, their dwindling numbers are putting the population "at risk of failure," says a recent report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.At last, the USFWS is acknowledging the program's design flaws, but can they get the gumption to fix these problems before the wolves are wiped out?
Factors such as the rigid borders of the endangered wolves' recovery area, removal of wolves to protect livestock, and illegal shooting of wolves are keeping the only wild population of Mexican gray wolves from growing, says the "conservation assessment" released last month