Mexican gray wolves have been blamed for killing nearly as many cows and calves in the first four months of 2019 as they did all of last year.
Federal wildlife managers have documented 88 livestock kills from January through April in New Mexico and Arizona. Nearly 100 were reported for all of 2018.
The Associated Press has found that this year is on pace to become the deadliest for livestock since the endangered predators were first reintroduced in 1998.
The decades-long effort to return the wolves to their historic range has been complicated by poaching and continued conflicts with livestock.
Ranchers and some rural residents see the reintroduction program as a threat to their way of life, but environmentalists contend more can be done to discourage wolves from targeting livestock.