Kevin Bixby at the Southwest Environmental Center cares about wolves…
“Hearing them howl. Seeing their prints….”
He cares a lot about wolves.
He thinks other people do too, and that some would be willing to pay to see them.
“Seeing the evidence that they’ve passed by…people are willing to pay money for that.”
A 2006 study by the University of Montana looked at the local economies of communities near Yellowstone National Park. Researchers say they found the wolves there brought in at least $22 million more tourism dollars and up to $35 million more a year.
Bixby says the Borderland region has some unique things to offer.
“Here in southern New Mexico…west Texas, we are well-positioned to be a center of nature tourism because of our weather…open spaces…public lands.”
His obvious sense of optimism comes with one admission.
“It’s not gonna be Yellowstone. It’s never gonna be Yellowstone…because we don’t have the wide open spaces…but the opportunity is there…. we could benefit…being the gateway communities.”
Zoos in both Alamogordo and El Paso have Mexican gray wolves on display. Fewer than 100 currently live in the wild.