Ranchers find unlikely partner in Defenders of Wildlife group

From the White Mountain Independent:

APACHE COUNTY — Ever since the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf into the wild in 1998, ranchers in wolf country have been dealing with a predator their ancestors worked to eliminate.

And the wolves very nearly were eliminated. The wild wolves that now roam the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest are the descendants of only seven remaining Mexican wolves left when a recovery effort for the species was launched in the mid-1970s after the passage of the Endangered Species Act.

Now, nearly 20 years later, ranchers in wolf country are still coming to terms with how to handle an another predator in a business that includes many variables that affect the bottom line and are outside ranchers’ control.

Some ranchers have found an unlikely partner in dealing with wolf-related livestock losses — an environmental group called Defenders of Wildlife.

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