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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A federal judge has dismissed claims by environmentalists that New Mexico wildlife managers violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing trapping in Mexican gray wolf territory.

U.S. Magistrate Lorenzo Garcia dismissed the suit by WildEarth Guardians on Monday.

The group was concerned that trapping could compromise the wolf population, which spans parts of New Mexico and Arizona. It pointed to 14 individual wolves that were captured in foothold traps between March 2002 and February 2009.

The New Mexico Game Commission voted to lift the trapping ban last year based partly on a federal study that found trapping accounted for only a fraction of documented wolf injuries and deaths in the reintroduction area.

New Mexico officials said Tuesday the decision was a win for state authority over wildlife management.

WildEarth Guardians hasn't decided whether to appeal the ruling.

Associated Press,

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