Las Cruces – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will review the status of the troubled Mexican gray wolf to determine if it should be listed as an endangered species separate from other North American gray wolves.
A court settlement required the agency to issue a finding by the end of July on two petitions that sought a separate listing. The agency's decision was made public Tuesday.
Conservationists have argued that a separate listing is biologically warranted, legally required and would result in stronger protections for the animal.
A subspecies of the gray wolf, the Mexican wolf was exterminated in the wild by the 1930s. Reintroduction began in 1998 along the Arizona-New Mexico border, but the effort has been plagued by illegal shootings and the concerns of ranchers and environmentalists.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.