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Fish And Wildlife Agrees To Gray Wolf Recovery Plan Deadline

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to a deadline to craft a recovery plan for the endangered Mexican gray wolf.

The agency reached a settlement with environmentalists, Utah and Arizona, but it still needs the approval of a federal judge.

Farm bureaus in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah are expected to challenge the settlement, saying it places an unfair burden on the American public when the wolves' historical range includes Mexico.

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States and environmental groups say the recovery plan is long overdue for a species that has struggled to gain a foothold in the Southwest.

The most recent annual survey shows at least 97 wolves live in forested lands in southwestern New Mexico and southeast Arizona.

The settlement would require a recovery plan by November 2017.