Two endangered Mexican gray wolves and their future offspring will be housed at the southern New Mexico ranch that belongs to media mogul Ted Turner.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said it was partnering with Ladder Ranch in an effort to boost the genetic diversity of this endangered species, The Associated Press reports.
The AP notes that the Ladder Ranch has been involved in work helping endangered species in the past, but this will mark the first time Mexican gray wolves have been translocated onto private land.
The two wolves are currently being kept at a wildlife refuge in central New Mexico, the AP reports and will be moved to Turner’s ranch once the pregnant female gives birth. The Mexican gray wolf is the rarest subspecies of North America's gray wolves. The species was declared endangered in 1976 after nearly becoming extinct.
“The translocation site on the Ladder Ranch is ranked as the best option due to its large, resident elk herd and distance from active grazing allotments on the Gila National Forest,” Brady McGee, Mexican wolf recovery coordinator for the FWS, said in an email.
Officials said that apart from introducing more genetic diversity, the project also aimed to establish a new territory that does not conflict with livestock. By the time the wolves are moved to the ranch, elk calving is expected to have begun which will provide a food source for the wolves.
Efforts have been made for more than 20 years to reintroduce Mexican gray wolves to the U.S. southwestern region, the AP reports. However, many ranchers have scared wolves away, saying they threaten their livestock and their livelihood.