Court mandates new recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must update its decades-old recovery plan for the endangered Mexican gray wolf under a court order issued by an Arizona judge.

The judge on Tuesday signed off on a settlement that was reached earlier this year between environmental groups and the federal agency.

The agreement set a November 2017 deadline for the agency to come up with a new plan. The agency also has to provide the court and other parties in the case regular updates on the planning process.

Environmentalists have long argued that the agency had a legal obligation to adopt a recovery plan that spells out specific goals and milestones for returning the wolves to their historic range in the Southwest.

There are currently about 100 wolves in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona.