Asha, the lone wolf in northern New Mexico, moved back to Arizona

Female Mexican wolf 2754 was given a health check and fitted with a new collar before being released back into the wild. Photo Credit: Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

On June 14th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released the news that Asha, the young female Mexican gray wolf tracked traversing the New Mexico landscape heading north in search of a mate in winter 2022 until her capture on private land near Taos by the USFWS, has been released back into the wilds of Arizona.

After leaving the Rocky Prairie pack in the Mexican wolf experimental population area in late December 2022 and crossing the arbitrary Interstate 40 boundary, Asha walked 20 to 30 miles a day, successfully navigating several dangerous interstate crossings and avoiding other human threats.

“Asha was simply following her wild instincts to find unoccupied suitable habitat,” New Mexico Wild staff attorney Sally Paez says in a statement about the wolf’s release. “Agency policy that restricts the natural expansion of the Mexican gray wolf population is counterproductive to the recovery of these critically endangered animals and the overall health of our southwestern ecosystems.”

Paez also spoke with the Albuquerque Journal for an article about Asha’s release published on June 14, 2023. “Asha’s journey may help support wolf advocates’ position that the predators should be allowed to roam free in northern New Mexico or possibly southern Colorado, Paez said.

“We’re pleased that she’s been released back into the wild, though we would have liked to have seen her allowed to kind of continue roaming free in the first instance,” she said. “But we are glad to see her back out in the wild doing her natural wolf thing.”

You can read additional coverage on Asha’s release from KUNM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

Learn more about our work advocating for Mexican gray wolf recovery here.