Business leaders want Mexican gray wolves in Grand Canyon area

FILE - In this July 1, 2010 photo, one of five eight-week-old Mexican Gray wolf pups gets a quick check-up at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Mo. The effort to return the wolves to the wild in New Mexico and Arizona has been hampered by illegal shootings, court battles, complaints from ranchers who have lost livestock and pets to the wolves, and concerns by environmentalists over the way the reintroduction program has been managed.   In 2010, there were six wolf deaths. All but one involved suspicious circumstances. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

Flagstaff, Ariz. • More than 60 business leaders have urged the federal government to release endangered Mexican gray wolves into the Grand Canyon area in northern Arizona and eastern Utah.

The business leaders are submitting their request in a joint letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The federal agency is seeking public comments on its draft plan that limits the wolf-recovery efforts to just one zone south of Interstate 40 in Arizona and New Mexico.

The business leaders include owners, managers and independent contractors from the tourism and service industries in northern Arizona and southern Utah.

They say the wolf-recovery efforts will have economic and environmental benefits.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is under a court order to have a completed recovery plan by the end of November.