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The effort to save Mexican gray wolves is 25 years in — but concerns remain

Efforts to restore the endangered Mexican gray wolf to the Southwest reached a milestone this spring. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that, for the first time since they have been reintroduced into the wild, the population of Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico has surpassed 200. 

In 2022, 241 wild wolves were documented here — which federal officials celebrated as a remarkable achievement.

However, the wildlife conservation group, the Western Watersheds Project, found that the picture is a little more murky for this endangered species and recently took a novel approach to ensuring the wolves’ survival —  they asked to put coyotes on the endangered list within designated zones in Arizona and New Mexico.

The group argued that Mexican gray wolves are often mistaken for coyotes and then shot and killed. By protecting one, we'd be protecting the other as well.

The Show spoke with Greta Anderson, deputy director of the Western Watersheds Project about the effort, which was previously denied, and the state of the effort to restore the Mexican gray wolf population a quarter of a century in.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.