The results of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's annual survey were released Friday. There are at least 83 of the endangered predators in the two states, marking the fourth year in a row the population has increased.
Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle says the population is at an all-time high. In fact, it has nearly doubled from a high of 42 in 2009.
A subspecies of the gray wolf, the Mexican gray wolf was added to the federal endangered species list in 1976.
Biologists have been working to return wolves to the Southwest since 1998. Those efforts have been hampered by everything from politics to illegal killings.
Officials reported last year that Mexican gray wolves may be in Luna County in coming years due to a proposed habitat expansion, and local officials were working to determine the most effective way to manage the endangered animals into the area’s environmental and economic dynamic.
The Luna County Endangered Species Advisory Committee hosted an October meeting to present an outline of work done by Luna County officials so far in the process.
Local residents also submitted questions and comments on the issue at the meeting.