Wolves out

Published: Friday 15 May 1998

federal biologists have released nearly a dozen Mexican gray wolves from chain-link pens into the remote ponderosa forests and meadows in the White mountains of eastern Arizona.

The us Fish and Wildlife Service and state officials have taken steps for the first time to return 100 of the animals to the range after an absence of almost 30 years. However, some local cattle ranchers have criticised the efforts. They fear that the wolves will prey on cattle and attack humans as well.

To help alleviate public concern, the environment group 'Defenders of Wildlife' has offered to pay ranchers market value for any livestock killed by the wolves. The Federal officials have also designated the endangered wolves "nonessential" animals, which allows them to be legally killed if they are caught killing livestock on private land.

Mexican gray wolf is a smaller subspecies of the gray wolf of the northern Rockies. If they are anything like their counterparts in Yellowstone, they will have significant impact on the environment.

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