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Colorado court ruling could one day impact Arizona's Mexican gray wolf populations

Conservationists and biologists say that Arizona’s Mexican gray wolf population needs more genetic diversity.

But a wolf introduction program in Colorado could help diversify the gene pool.

Biologists say that different subspecies of wolves probably once interacted on a regular basis.

Today, Arizona’s Mexican wolf populations, which make their home in the White Mountains, are hundreds of miles from the closest northern wolf populations.

But the distance between them may be closing. Although a few have wandered into Colorado from Wyoming, the state recently kicked off a reintroduction program to boost their numbers.

The livestock industry recently filed suit to block the reintroduction, but last week, a judge ruled against it.

She said that in other states with hundreds or even thousands of wolves, damage to the livestock was minimal.

Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.