June 14, 2023

Wolf captured near Taos released into the wild in Arizona

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Asha the Mexican wolf

A female wolf who crossed the Interstate 40 boundary and was then captured near Taos has been released back into the wild.

The Mexican Gray Wolf, who was named Asha by school children, spent the winter at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sevilleta facility along with a male wolf that the agency hoped would breed with her. The male was chosen based on his genetics. The idea was that the pair would be released into Mexico to help improve the genetic diversity of wolves in that region.

But the pair did not successfully breed and the Service chose instead to release Asha back into the wild alone in Arizona.

Asha was released into the Apache National Forest in eastern Arizona.

Prior to her capture, she traversed about 500 miles. She was born into the Rocky Prairie pack in Arizona and left that pack in 2022 to begin the journey.

Asha crossed the I-40 boundary in January.

The controversial decision to capture Asha was made based on the Service’s Mexican wolf recovery permit as well as the lack of wolves in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. Having no other wolves present meant that Asha could not find a mate or start a pack.