PINETOP, AZ — Biologists are combing the rugged mountains of the U.S. Southwest to find out how many Mexican gray wolves are roaming the wild.
The annual count in Arizona and New Mexico started in November and is expected to run through early February.
The population numbers of the endangered predators will be released in March. A reintroduction program began in 1998.
At least 163 wolves were counted during the last survey.
That marked a nearly 25% jump in the population from the previous year and put wildlife managers about halfway to declaring the species recovered.