Wolves release cleared despite objection

The U.S. Department of the Interior has granted permission for the release of Mexican wolves into the state despite objections by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the Socorro County Board of Commissioners.

Last week the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service notified the director of New Mexico Department of Game and Fish that the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program is being exempted from the DOI Fish and Wildlife policy to comply with New Mexico’s permitting requirements.

“The Mexican wolf is still at risk of extinction,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Public Affairs Specialist Jeff Humphrey. “It is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s obligation under the law to recover this species, and reintroductions into the wild from the more genetically diverse captive population are an essential part of that recovery process. Our preference is always to work collaboratively with states and we ask New Mexico to reengage with us in these efforts. We look forward to continuing our productive species recovery work with New Mexico Department of Game and Fish on a host of other threatened and endangered species in the state.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service applied for permission with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish earlier this year. The department denied the request last month. The Socorro County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution last week opposing the release and is considering an ordinance making it illegal to release wolves on ranch land in the county.

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