- Associated Press - Saturday, February 27, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The southwest New Mexico ranch owned by media mogul Ted Turner will temporarily shelter five Mexican gray wolves on their way to Mexico.

The New Mexico Game and Fish Commission gave unanimous approval Friday, more than a month after the panel denied Ladder Ranch’s appeal for a permit to host Mexican wolves as part of a federal species recovery program, the Albuquerque Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1XQbN0D ).

“I don’t have a problem with the Ladder Ranch,” Commissioner Ralph Ramos said after Friday’s meeting. “I think they are doing a good job. I’m concerned about Fish and Wildlife. They need to get that recovery plan completed.”

The Ladder Ranch had held its permit to participate in the recovery program since 1988.

Federal wildlife officials will transport the animals from Wolf Haven International in Washington state to Mexico. The Ladder Ranch stop is intended to relieve travel stress and work around breeding season.

Turner Endangered Species Fund Mike Phillips attended Friday’s meeting via telephone from Bozeman, Montana. He said one plan moves the wolves to Ladder Ranch next week and moves the animals to Mexico before pups are born.

The other plan moves the wolves to Ladder Ranch in early April, and then to Mexico in July after the female wolf gives birth.

“Breeding time is very soon,” Phillips said. “We don’t want to move the female wolf during the first 30 days of gestation.”

Commission Chairman Paul Kienzle supported the permit with the provision that it could be reviewed by Game and Fish Department Director Alexandra Sandoval if the wolves need to stay longer.

“I think this is a step in the right direction,” Kienzle said. “I am comfortable in supporting this.”

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com


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