Fewer than 60 of these lobos in wilds of NM, Arizona
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has come to be viewed by conservation groups as an enemy of wolves.
The animosity continued Monday with another lawsuit.
The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the government's rejection of a 2009 scientific petition that sought classification of the Mexican gray wolf as an endangered subspecies of gray wolves.
Mexican wolves already are protected as endangered, along with all other wolves, in most of the lower 48 states. Exceptions are in the northern Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes region.
But in filing its suit in federal court in Washington, D.C., the Center for Biological Diversity said specific protection for Mexican wolves is needed to make sure they recover.
“Mexican wolves are the smallest, most genetically distinct of all gray wolves in North America, uniquely adapted to the dry lands of the Southwest,” said Michael Robinson, the center’s wolf specialist. “We’re filing our second lawsuit in three weeks on their behalf because these very rare animals are on the razor edge of extinction due to federal mismanagement, persecution and neglect."
In November the Center sued the Fish and Wildlife Service to "compel it to reform its ongoing wolf-reintroduction program in accordance with recommendations made by its own scientific panel in 2001."
Tom Buckley, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Albuquerque, said the agency was reviewing the lawsuit, but had no comment on it.