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Mexican gray wolf population on the rise

Friday - 1/31/2014, 3:20pm  ET

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- There are more Mexican gray wolves in the wild in the Southwest than at any time since the government began reintroducing the endangered predator in the region.

The results of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's annual survey were released today. There are at least 83 of the endangered predators in Arizona and New Mexico, marking the fourth year in a row the population has increased.

Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle says the population is at an all-time high. In fact, it has nearly doubled from the number counted in 2009.

A subspecies of the gray wolf, the Mexican gray wolf was added to the federal endangered species list in 1976.

Biologists have been working to return wolves to the Southwest since 1998. Those efforts have been hampered by everything from politics to illegal killings.

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