High Hopes In Wolf Recovery

New Mexico – Another year has passed and the effort to return the endangered Mexican gray wolf to the Southwest is no closer to marking success than when wildlife officials first set out with their lofty goals decades ago.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest director Benjamin Tuggle says this year is going to be different. He's predicting a "watershed year."

At the top of Tuggle's list is bringing together scientists, conservationists, ranchers and others to develop a much-needed roadmap for wolf recovery. Tuggle expects the team to have a plan ready for public review in about a year.

Wildlife managers also are getting ready for the annual wolf survey along the Arizona-New Mexico border. It begins Jan. 19.

They're hopeful they will spot more wolves this year. Last year's survey turned up 42 wolves.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.