- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on the federal government’s plan to release Mexican gray wolves (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

New Mexico is planning to take legal action against the federal government after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service quietly revealed its intention to release more Mexican gray wolves into the wild.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish confirmed Wednesday that its lawyers have filed a notice of intent to sue over the proposed releases.

Last year, the state denied the agency permission to release wolves, but federal wildlife managers countered that they had a responsibility to help the endangered species recover and that releases were part of that effort.

The plan was posted Monday on the agency’s website for wolf recovery efforts. It calls for releasing a pack with pups in New Mexico and cross-fostering pups with packs that are already in the wild.

Federal officials have argued that releases and cross-fostering are the preferred methods for improving the genetic diversity among the wild population in New Mexico and Arizona.

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12:36 p.m.

U.S. officials plan to release Mexican wolves in New Mexico this year despite the state’s opposition.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (https://bit.ly/1VjQuGz ) that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday posted a plan to its website saying it intends to release a pack of wolves in the state and place pups born in captivity into a wild pack to improve the population’s genetic diversity.

The agency and the New Mexico Game Commission wrangled over bureaucratic issues for months before the commission denied the federal government permission to release the wolves in New Mexico.

The wildlife service says its authority trumps that of the state and plans to carry on with the program.

Game Commissioner Bob Ricklefs says the commission has no official reaction yet but was expecting the move.

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