Mexican gray wolf roaming beyond recreation area captured

Mexican gray wolf roaming beyond recreation area captured

Mexican gray wolf roaming beyond recreation area captured

A female Mexican gray wolf that roamed beyond the endangered species’ recreation area into the more northerly reaches of New Mexico was captured, authorities said Monday.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish deployed a helicopter Sunday to locate and capture the wolf.

Officials at the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Albuquerque said the wolf will be temporarily held in captivity and mated with a male Mexican wolf “to be brought to Mexico as a pair later this year.”

They said the she-wolf first moved north of the arbitrary boundary of Interstate 40 in New Mexico on Jan. 2 and then showed no sign of returning to the population’s experimental recreation area.

MICHIGAN GRAY WOLF COMEBACK COULD BE FULL IF POPULATION STABILIZES

Authorities said last week a map showed the wolf near Taos and south of the Colorado border.

“Because it is breeding season and there are no other known wolves in the area, there was a high possibility of negative interaction or breeding with domestic dogs,” Fish and Wildlife Service officials said in a statement.

The wolf from Arizona’s Rocky Prairie Pack was nicknamed “Asha” by school children.

Their roaming reignited debate over whether the predators should be restricted to a specific section of the US Southwest while wildlife managers work to increase the population.

A Mexican gray wolf roaming over the endangered species' recreation area was captured Sunday after being spotted by helicopters.

A Mexican gray wolf roaming over the endangered species’ recreation area was captured Sunday after being spotted by helicopters.

Environmentalists have been fighting in federal court to overturn a requirement that the Fish and Wildlife Service capture wolves roaming north of I-40.

Last week, conservationists asked authorities to allow the she-wolf to continue her journey.

“This wolf’s name, Asha, means ‘hope’ in Sanskrit,” said Mary Katherine Ray, wildlife chair of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club. “What could be more fitting for a wolf exploring the big wide world on his own and surviving as wolves once did throughout the Southwest?”

Collared wolves have migrated north of I-40 only a few times since 2015, when the experimental area for Mexican wolf populations was established, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Wolf-cattle conflict has been a major challenge to the reintroduction program over the past two decades, with ranchers saying wolf killing of livestock remains a threat to their livelihoods, despite efforts by wildlife managers to drive the wolves away and share in the losses to reimburse .

The Mexican wolf is the rarest gray wolf subspecies in North America. According to the most recent survey, released in early 2022, there were at least 196 Mexican wolves in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona. It was the sixth consecutive year that the population had increased.

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