Endangered U.S. wolf denied new habitat, as critics charge that politics trumped science
On 26 January 1998, federal wildlife officials drove three Mexican wolves to a remote corner of southeastern Arizona, where they soon became the first wild wolves to roam the U.S. Southwest in nearly 30 years. Mike Phillips, a biologist who had helped reintroduce wolves to the southeastern United States and Yellowstone National Park, said that day that reestablishing the Mexican wolf was going to be “the biggest wolf conservation challenge” yet. The captive-bred wolves would have to survive in a landscape grazed heavily by livestock, increasing the potential for deadly conflicts with ranchers.
Still, Phillips never thought it would be this hard.