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Government Shutdown Could Delay Arizona Wolf Population Survey

Mexican wolf
Arizona Game and Fish Department
file | agency
Mexican wolf.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is gearing up to conduct its annual Mexican wolf population survey. Helicopter flights to survey the animals are scheduled to begin Jan. 22. But, the federal government shutdown could delay the process.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department keeps a close eye on the number of Mexican wolves in northeastern Arizona and Western New Mexico. That requires conducting the same annual survey, in the same areas, during the same time of year.

Jim deVos, assistant director for wildlife management, said they usually release the numbers by the first week of February.

“We won’t fly until the federal government is back in action,” deVos said. “Depending on the delay that we have from that it might be a little bit later than February. Stay tuned. We’ll have numbers at some point in time. We’re hopeful to see a measurable increase [in the Mexican wolf population] this year."

DeVos said amidst a delay, the department is still staged to start the day after federal funding comes through. 

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.