Mo. Pups Could Boost Gray Wolf Population
ST. LOUIS The endangered Mexican gray wolf population could swell by 10 percent this spring, after two wolves in captivity gave birth this weekend, and three more are expecting.
The potential for 26 new pups is a welcome development for those working to preserve the rare wolves at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center in suburban St. Louis. It's not such good news for opponents in a long-running fight against the wolves' reintroduction into the wild.
In the 1970s, the wolves disappeared completely from the United States, canid center director Susan Lyndaker Lindsey said. Beginning in 1998, Mexican gray wolves were reintroduced in the Southwest. There are currently about 60 in Arizona and New Mexico, another 200 or so in captivity, Lyndaker Lindsey said.
The research center was founded in 1971 by the late Marlin Perkins, the renowned naturalist and former St. Louis Zoo director, and has programs to protect other canids, like the endangered red wolf.
The target of a federal program is to get about 200 Mexican gray wolves back in the wild. But there is strong opposition in the current recovery area, 4.4 million acres of Gila and Apache Sitgreaves national forests and the 1.6 million-acre White Mountain Apache reservation.
The New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau hears weekly from farmers and ranchers with concerns and complaints about the wolves. "As far as we can see, the wolf reintroduction program has been an abject failure," spokesman Erik Ness said.
Source: Associated Press