Federal wildlife officials are proposing to change the way Mexican gray wolves are managed in the American Southwest.
They say removing population limits and setting goals for genetic diversity will help the endangered species.
The proposal also would restrict permits issued to ranchers or state wildlife agencies that allow killing of wolves if they prey on livestock, elk or deer.
Management of the predators has spurred numerous legal challenges over the decades by both ranchers and environmentalists.
A survey done earlier this year showed at least 186 Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona.