Release of Mexican Gray Wolves makes critics howl
January 27, 1998
Web posted at: 3:33 p.m. EST (2033 GMT)
ALPINE, Arizona (CNN) -- Mexican Gray Wolves once ran wild in
the hills of Mexico and Arizona, and the U.S. government
helped farmers and ranchers eradicate the predator at the
turn of the century. Now the government wants to expand the
species -- and that has some people worried and angry.
Mexican Gray Wolves were declared an endangered species in
1976; today there are only 175 of the animals left -- all in
captivity. To boost the population, the government plans to
release the wolves in Arizona in about two months.
A wolf repopulation program already is under way in
Yellowstone National Park, triggering a lawsuit that could
halt the project.
"It's going to be a disaster for everybody that lives in this
country. Whether he's a hunter, whether he's a rancher -- it
doesn't matter what he is. It's going to be a disaster for
him economically, and also, people are going to be afraid to
go into the forest," rancher Hugh McKeen told CNN.
But environmentalist Craig Miller disagrees, saying it is
important for people go "beyond the myth of three hundred years ago and Little Red Ridinghood." ( 119K/9 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Because livestock inevitably will be threatened, an
environmental group working with the government promises to
reimburse ranchers for any livestock they lose to wolves.
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt also maintains that, despite the controversy, there is room in the wild for people and
wolves. ( 136K/11 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Correspondent Greg LaMotte contributed to this report.