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NM game panel delays decision on Mexican wolf permit appeal

A Mexican gray wolf inside one of the pens at Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch in southwestern New Mexico. The ranch has been aiding the federal wolf recovery program. (Albuquerque Journal File Photo)

A Mexican gray wolf inside one of the pens at Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch in southwestern New Mexico. The ranch has been aiding the federal wolf recovery program. (Albuquerque Journal File Photo)

SANTA FE — The New Mexico Game Commission has delayed a decision on an appeal filed by federal officials who are seeking to release endangered Mexican gray wolves as part of recovery efforts in the Southwest.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initially sought three permits, including one to release a pair of wolves and their pups onto federal land in New Mexico and another allowing for up to 10 captive pups to be raised by foster wolves in the wild.

The requests were denied in June by the state game and fish director.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional deputy director, Joy Nicholopoulos, told commissioners during a meeting Thursday in Santa Fe that delaying releases could compromise the genetics of the wild population in New Mexico and Arizona.

The commission is expected to take up the matter again next month.

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