For two decades Arizona has partnered with federal biologists and spent $3 million to help recover Mexican gray wolves that were previously eliminated from the wild.For about as long, state officials have checked federal ambitions for adding wild wolf packs. They have demanded limits on wolf habitat zones and backed a population cap that some observers say would doom the subspecies.So can the state be trusted with the keys to recovery of the gray wolves?Some Republican lawmakers say Arizona would do better by the wolves than a federally run program, which has spent more than $25 million since the late 1990s. They are pushing legislation that would effectively remove federal Endangered Species Act protections and entrust the wolves to Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.The move comes in a year when the slowly rebounding population took a dive, when wolf supporters say they need more protections from poachers and other threats, not less.The lawmakers seeking change complain about the burden wolves place on rural ranchers, but they also insist the wolf would be better off without the federal bureaucracy.”The Mexican gray wolf is no better off today than it was 20 years ago,” said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz, who sponsored a budget amendment to defund the… Read full this story
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