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Public Comment Period Ending for Gray Wolf Recovery Plan Changes

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Tuesday is the final day to comment on several revisions to the federal Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the changes would keep the endangered animals out of much of northern Arizona.

In 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced gray wolves to the Southwest. Now, 83 roam the Blue Range Recovery Area in eastern Arizona and New Mexico.

Now, the federal agency wants to further define the animal’s range in both states. The new proposals would prevent the population from spreading north of Interstate-40, but expand their territory south to the U.S.-Mexico border. It also further outlines circumstances in which the animals could be killed, including livestock predation and attacks on humans.

Earlier this month, several environmental groups announced a lawsuit against U.S. Fish and Wildlife. They claim the agency hasn’t fully enacted the wolf recovery project in the Southwest and that the animal’s population is at risk of extinction.

But, many ranchers in rural Arizona say a larger wolf population would pose a grave threat to their livelihoods and safety.

Public comments on the proposals will be accepted until 9 o’clock tonight.

More information on the public comment period for the Mexican gray wolf program revisions can be found at regulations.gov.

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