TUCSON, AZ (TNN) – An endangered species could get more room to run in Arizona. But ranchers say the Mexican wolf would be a threat to their way of life.
The proposed area for the Mexican wolf has been north of I-10. But U.S. Fish and Wildlife is now looking to extend it south of I-10 through Cochise County to the border. Ranchers worry about the safety of their livestock.
"Why do we want to reintroduce an animal, a predator, that is not only going to kill all of your cows and horses, but then it's a threat to the safety of your kids and yourself?" said rancher John Ladd, whose family has owned the same ranch since 1896.
The Mexican wolf was reintroduced in eastern Arizona and has been kept there since. If a Mexican wolf is found in area outside of that specific range then it is captured and returned. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been looking to expand the area so that the Mexican wolf can roam across Arizona and New Mexico. But the area has been between Interstates 40 and 10. The new area would include the land south of I-10 to the border. Ranchers worry about what the Mexican wolf will do to their livestock, and what they will be able to do to the wolf if they need to since the wolf could still be protected as an endangered species. At a meeting this week in Cochise county they expressed those concerns.
"It's the typical environmental stance that we need to reintroduce this to have a balanced environment, and it isn't going to work with as many people that are around here now," Ladd said.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a public comment period until October 27th, and a public hearing in Albuquerque on October 4th. Arizona Game and Fish has announced a public informational meeting in Tucson on September 24th from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Greasewood office about the federal effort to reintroduce the Mexican wolf Public meeting by game and fish in late September