The American Southwest hasn't seen this many endangered Mexican gray wolves roaming the wild in decades.
The results of this year's annual survey of wolves in Arizona and New Mexico mark a first for the troubled reintroduction program. Wolves were first released in 1998, but the numbers have never been this high.
The estimates released Wednesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show there are at least 75 wolves in the wild in the two states. That includes 13 packs, four breeding pairs and 20 pups.
That's up from last year's estimate of 58 wolves.
The survey comes as federal officials revamp a decades-old plan that guides management of the predator. A draft proposal calls for establishing rules for wolves that migrate into other parts of Arizona and New Mexico and into West Texas.