ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More Mexican gray wolves are roaming the American Southwest now than at any time since federal biologists began reintroducing the predators more than two decades ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday.Agency officials declared progress for the endangered species in New Mexico and Arizona, saying there are at least 131 wolves in the wild in the two states. That represents a 12% jump in the population.Ranchers and others in rural communities within the mountain ranges that border wolf territory have pushed back against the reintroduction program, citing livestock kills and safety concerns.Federal wildlife managers have been working with partners in Arizona, the White Mountain Apache Tribe and the Mexican government to mitigate concerns related to the reintroduction on both sides of the international border, but ranchers in New Mexico and Arizona continue to document conflicts that range from cattle deaths to nuisance reports.

Source: Survey: More Mexican gray wolves roam Southwest | Livestock |