Mexican gray wolf

Mexican gray wolf. [Photo courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service]

Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Without comment the House on Thursday gave preliminary approval to allowing ranchers and their employees to kill wolves.

Existing state laws already permit hunters to shoot bears and mountain lions that are attacking livestock. SB 1211 expands that to Mexican gray wolves despite the fact this species is listed as endangered under federal law and killing an endangered species violates federal law.

The measure, which already has been approved by the Senate, is being pushed by Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, who has been a foe of the efforts by the federal government to reintroduce wolf populations in Arizona and New Mexico. She said prey for the animals include cattle, white tail deer, “pets and our children.”

Officials of the state Game and Fish Department said federal law already allows killing a wolf if it is attacking a human.

It remains to be seen whether the measure, which still needs a final roll-call vote in the House, is in violation of federal law.

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