Annual Wolf Count Underway

Las Cruces – The annual count of Mexican gray wolves on the border of Arizona and New Mexico is under way.

Managers of the program say January's aerial survey will be combined with information gathered by ground monitoring in November and December for a count of wolves in the wild for 2010.

They consider it a minimum number rather than a total because it's possible the survey could miss some uncollared wolves.

The count at the beginning of 2010 was 42.

Biologists are using fixed-wing aircraft and a helicopter to find wolves fitted with radio telemetry collars.

Once the fixed-wing aircraft locates a collared wolf, the helicopter flies to the location and tries to count any wolves traveling with it.

The government began releasing endangered wolves to the wild in 1998.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.