Judge Orders USDA To Release Data on Wolf Program

August 26, 2009

Conservationists won a victory in their effort to get information on the USDA Wildlife Services program to kill or trap gray wolves who prey on livestock. Ranchers had opposed release of site-specific information, claiming a need for privacy.

"A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services to release specific information on the locations of conflicts between livestock and the Mexican gray wolves that are roaming New Mexico and Arizona as part of a reintroduction effort," the AP reported.

"Conservationists have applauded the decision, saying the coordinates will help determine if there are any problem areas and whether steps can be taken to limit wolf contact with livestock in those areas," the AP said.

"The Mexican wolf, a subspecies of the gray wolf, was exterminated in the wild in the Southwest by the 1930s," according to the AP. "In 1998, the government began reintroducing wolves along the Arizona-New Mexico line in a 4 million-acre territory. There are now about 50 wolves in the wild, but that's half of what biologists had hoped to have by now."