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Wolf council extends deadline for ranchers

This April 18, 2008, file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a gray wolf. The California Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday April 16, 2014, will consider listing the gray wolf as an endangered species. The wolf has been absent from California since the 1920s, but the appearance of a lone wolf in recent years in the north state has advocates pushing for protection in the hope that it will return in greater numbers. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gary Kramer, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Federal wildlife officials say the deadline has been extended for ranchers to apply for payments under a program meant to ease conflicts between Mexican gray wolves and livestock.

Ranchers in parts of New Mexico and Arizona now have until June 2 to apply for the payments.

Officials said the deadline was extended another month.

The chairman of the coexistence council, Sisto Hernandez, said the goal is to increase the number of ranchers who receive financial compensation to offset management costs that result from the presence of wolves.

The payments will be based on a variety of factors, including whether a rancher's land or grazing lease overlaps with wolf territory. Another consideration is the number of surviving wolf pups in the territory.

There are an estimated 83 wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.

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