Arizona Game and Fish officials have backed a proposal to make changes to the reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves into Arizona and New Mexico.
The move came the same day that Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed legislation that would have permitted people to kill wolves in self defense.
Since 1998, Game and Fish has released wolves into parts of east-central Arizona. They’ve then been allowed to move into designated areas in Arizona and New Mexico.
The proposal expands the area where the wolves can be released – including into New Mexico - and the area where they are allowed to disperse and establish territories. It also increases the target wild population from 100 to 300 wolves.
Sandy Behr of the Sierra Club said Game and Fish did a good job of spinning what they adopted, but that the changes are not based on scientific evidence of recovery.
“Game and Fish is seeking to limit having wolves expand north of I-40 for example, when the greater Grand Canyon area has been identified as excellent habitat for wolves and for wolf recovery," she said.
The proposal will now be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which has a final say on the changes.