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Mexican Gray Wolf population grows by 25 percent

More Mexican Gray Wolves are returning to the Southwest. KJZZ’s Al Macias reports their population has grown by 25 percent in the last year.

There are 75 wolves now living in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. That’s what the latest survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows. According to the estimate, there are 13 packs, three breeding pairs and 20 pups. This is the highest count of Mexican Grey Wolves since they were first released into the wild in 1998. Last year there were an estimated 58 wolves in the wild.

Federal officials are reviewing a decades-old plan that guides management of the predator. One proposal would establish rules for wolves that migrate into other parts of Arizona and New Mexico and into West Texas.

Most recently a male gray wolf was released on Jan. 7 in Arizona, but then recaptured three weeks later in New Mexico because it had roamed outside its designated territory.

Many western cattle ranchers say the wolves are a threat to their livestock and have opposed more wolves in the Southwest.