ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A coalition of 30 conservation groups is calling on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to release more captive Mexican gray wolves into the wild.
Thursday marks the 14th anniversary of the first release done as part of the federal government’s effort to reintroduce the endangered wolves to New Mexico and Arizona.
There are now at least 58 wolves in the wild in the two states, but 2008 marked the last time managers released a new wolf as part of the program.
The groups sent Salazar a letter Thursday, saying the lack of releases reflects opposition from ranchers and a lack of support on the part of state wildlife agencies.
The groups contend the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has statutory and ethical duties to conserve Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest.