Arizona

Feb 14, 2013 1:54 PM by Associated Press

Return of gray wolves to Southwest slow going

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - It's been 15 years and more than $25 million has been spent since the federal government set about trying to return the endangered Mexican gray wolf to the American Southwest.

But the program is lagging those credited with saving their cousins in the Northern Rockies, bald eagles and even the American crocodile.

The reason, critics say, federal wildlife managers are being too heavy-handed with the predators, picking and choosing which wolves get to mate and which need to be shot or rounded up and returned to captivity.

Federal wildlife officials say their goal is to build a wild population that will one day no longer need human intervention.

Critics argue officials haven't done enough to get there.

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