Officials confirm deaths of 2 endangered wolf pups

Mexican Gray Wolf
FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a Mexican gray wolf leaves cover at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro County, N.M. Suspicion over federal plans to restore Mexican gray wolves has spread to Colorado and Utah, where ranchers and elected officials are fiercely resisting any attempt to import the predators. (Jim Clark/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Wildlife officials have confirmed that two endangered Mexican gray wolf pups died last month.

The Arizona Department of Game and Fish detailed the cases in a monthly report released Thursday.

The agency says a female pup with the Hoodoo Pack was found dead in Arizona in March. The cause remains under investigation.

A male pup with Arizona’s Bluestem Pack died after being captured for a medical evaluation. Officials say testing confirmed the animal had canine distemper.

The most recent survey conducted by federal and state officials involved in the reintroduction program showed at least 113 wolves spread between Arizona and New Mexico. That marked an improvement over the previous year.

The survey also showed that 50 wild-born pups survived in 2016 compared with half that the previous year.

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