The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to extend Endangered Species Act protection to the estimated 75 Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest, and that's causing many to question the effectiveness of the "kid cages" that dot New Mexico—wood and mesh shelters installed a decade ago to protect school children from wolf attacks.
According to Fox News, New Mexico residents say the shelters could save the life of a child waiting for the school bus before dawn, and even if wolves aren't a problem, many New Mexico residents like the shelters because they provide cover from storms. However, critics say the cages are part of tactics to demonize the animal, citing the fact that there has never been a documented wolf attack in New Mexico or Arizona.
"I think the 'kid cages' are a publicity stunt designed to stoke opposition to Mexican wolf recovery in general and to the federal government in particular," Daniel MacNutty, wildlife-ecology professor at Utah State University, told National Geographic. "I have not seen the cages. But wolves are not sharks. Cages are unnecessary becasue wolves aren't going to be attacking children at the bus stop."