Group calls for release of Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico

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) – Environmentalists are asking that federal wildlife managers release more captive Mexican gray wolves into the wild in New Mexico to help with recovery of the endangered species.

The Center for Biological Diversity outlined its request in a letter to regional officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The group pointed to two family packs that biologists earlier this year identified for release and an additional three packs to bolster genetic diversity among wolves currently in the wild in New Mexico and neighboring Arizona.

The group also is seeking the release of a female wolf from Mexico that was captured this spring in Arizona.

Officials with the wolf recovery team couldn’t comment on the request since releases are at the heart of a pending legal dispute between the state of New Mexico and the federal government.