The number of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest grew last year by 14%.
That’s according to the latest count by state and federal wildlife managers that found at least 186 wolves in 46 packs in eastern Arizona and New Mexico. The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted the aerial count between November and January and officials say the number of Mexican gray wolves has nearly doubled in the last five years. In addition, a growing number of wolf pups survived in the wild at 64.
Environmentalists applauded the increase, but according to the Center for Biological Diversity the population is still vulnerable and needs heightened protections along with more wolf releases from captivity into the wild.