The endangered Mexican gray wolf population in New Mexico and Arizona grew for the fourth year running in 2013, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The latest end-of-year count showed a minimum of 83 wolves in the wild, up more than 10 percent from a count of 75 wolves in 2012. It’s the greatest number of wolves counted since a program to reintroduce the species began in 1998, according to Benjamin Tuggle, southwest regional director of the FWS.
“One hundred wolves is the conservation goal,” Tuggle said. “And we’re moving forward in terms of trying to get to that number.”
That goal was part of the original reintroduction plan and is currently under review, according the FWS.
Some 46 wolves were found roaming in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest and 37 others were counted in Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and Fort Apache Indian Reservation. At least seven of the 14 known wolf packs produced pups last year.