June 13, 2018 / Modified jun 13, 2018 10:16 a.m.

Arizona Counties Want More Funds for Mexican Wolf Recovery

A counties organization official says federal funding covers a fraction of the actual costs of the program.

Mexican Wolf running hero A Mexican wolf. (PHOTO: Jim Clark, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

BISBEE — The Cochise County Board of Supervisors is requesting more federal funding for Mexican wolf recovery efforts.

They're sending a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, asking him to consider a fairer compensation plan for the eastern Arizona communities hosting the recovery program and the state agencies managing it.

Federal authorities began efforts to conserve Mexican wolves in the southwestern United States in 1977 and released the first wolves into the wild in 1998.

The executive director of the Eastern Arizona Counties Organization, Pascal Berlioux, says the annual $200,000 funding for compensation to ranchers in both Arizona and New Mexico is around 10 percent of actual costs.

It's estimated the program has cost $38 million as of last year with the current Mexican wolf population thought to be 114.

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