Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NM gray wolves recovery gets boost

A federal judge has approved a settlement requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to finish a long-overdue recovery plan for the endangered Mexican gray wolf within a year. U.S. Judge Jennifer Zipps in the District of Arizona on Monday approved the agreement reached in April by wolf advocacy groups, the states of Utah and Arizona, and the service. The settlement compels Fish and Wildlife to complete a species recovery plan by the end of November 2017 that sets parameters for its management of the Mexican wolf reintroduction program, including where wolves should be allowed to roam as well as population targets. The service has failed to finish a recovery plan three times since the first plan was adopted in 1982. New Mexico’s Game and Fish Department, which intervened in the case, declined to join the settlement “due to the overly aggressive time frame it specifies,” a spokesman told the Journal in April. Game and Fish has been at odds with the service over the wolf program for years and has urged a new recovery plan. Game and Fish did not respond to requests for comment. The settlement requires the recovery plan to consider “all available scientific and commercial information from appropriate state agencies and other entities,” including from New Mexico, and be supported by “an independent peer review.”...more

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