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Enviros, Ranchers React To New Wolf Proposal

The US fish and Wildlife Service proposed multiple changes to the mexican gray wolf recovery program late last week. Both ranchers and environmentalists say they aren’t happy with the proposal in it's current form.

Under the new provisions, the Mexican gray wolf would be officially recognized as an endangered sub-species and receive federal protections. The Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area would also be enlarged.

Environmentalists are pleased with the changes, but Michael Robinson with the Center for Biological Diversity says the proposal still allows wildlife officials to kill wolves. “I think what they tried to do,” Robinson says, “is satisfy the livestock industry while taking minimal steps towards conservation and in that respect it's very disappointing.”

Representatives from the livestock industry say they're not overly excited about the proposal, either. Caren Cowan is with the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association. She says the recovery area lacks the proper prey base, making cattle an easy target for hungry wolves. “So expanding the range and trying to shoe-horn them in with no prey base makes no sense at all.”

The changes were announced as part of a larger plan remove the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list. The proposal will be open to public comment for 90 days before the US Fish and Wildlife Service makes a final decision.