/ Modified jun 29, 2017 2:30 p.m.

New Plan for Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery, 35 Years Later

Plan calls for focusing recovery efforts for endangered wolf in Arizona.

Mexican Gray Wolf hero A Mexican Gray Wolf pads through brush near a chain link fence. (PHOTO: Clark Jim, USFWS)

U.S. wildlife officials have finally drafted a recovery plan for endangered wolves that once roamed parts of the American Southwest and northern Mexico.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is under a court order to complete the plan by the end of November.

The draft document calls for focusing recovery of the Mexican gray wolves in core areas of the predators' historic range. That means south of Interstate 40 in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as in Mexico. The document also addresses threats, such as genetic diversity.

The recovery plan is a long time coming, as the original guidance for how to restore wolves to the Southwest was adopted in 1982.

The lack of a plan has spurred numerous legal challenges by environmentalists as well as skirmishes over states' rights under the Endangered Species Act.

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