ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With new revisions to the re-introduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf, placement of the endangered animal has them now showing up in small towns like Quemado, New Mexico.
The Mexican Gray Wolf has been back in the New Mexico wild for the last 20 years, but some residents in Quemado say that “wild” is getting too close.
“I’ve never been scared, I’ve never been worried, I’ve never felt like I had to watch my back here in my own yard,” said Quemado, New Mexico, resident Jolene Houston.
That changed last Sunday, when Houston spotted two Mexican Gray Wolves in her front yard after her grandkids had come in from playing.
It’s been an ongoing debate for years, rural residents saying they don’t want the wolves around hurting or harassing livestock and now, possibly threatening humans.
“There are a lot of misunderstandings and fears about wolves that are actually unwarranted,” said Judy Calman, Staff Attorney for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.
Environmentalists say Mexican Gray Wolves haven’t killed a human in the United States in a hundred years.
“I would be really doubtful that the wolves are hostile at all,” added Calman. “They’re a pack animal, they’re a family social animal…”
Calman said the designated placement of the wolves is not only for managing the ecosystem, but providing an area for them to prosper.
In 2017, 12 wolves were killed or euthanized. Officials are still investigating many of those cases. Jolene Houston fears going to jail if she has to defend her family because the wolf is listed as an endangered species.
“I understand we live with everything, that’s the life we live, but again, we can protect ourselves from those animals,” added Houston.
Anyone who kills an endangered species without justified cause faces up to a year in jail and a $50,000.
Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake is proposing removing the Mexican Grey Wolf from the endangered species list. Environmentalists say it’s another attempt to sidestep the endangered species act.