Feds release long-awaited recovery plan for Mexican wolves

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. The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, lifted a preliminary injunction that had prevented the Fish and Wildlife Service from releasing more Mexican gray wolves. (Jim Clark/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — After repeated failures over decades, U.S. wildlife officials have finally drafted a recovery plan for endangered wolves that once roamed parts of the American Southwest and northern Mexico.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is under a court order to complete the plan by the end of November.

The draft document released Thursday calls for focusing recovery of the Mexican gray wolves in core areas of the predators’ historic range. That means south of Interstate 40 in the two states and in Mexico. The document also addresses threats, such as genetic diversity.

The recovery plan is a long time coming as the original guidance for how to restore wolves to the Southwest was adopted in 1982.

The lack of a plan has spurred numerous legal challenges by environmentalists as well as skirmishes over states’ rights under the Endangered Species Act.