A lone female Mexican gray wolf named Asha has roamed over 650 miles since her release last June – well beyond the designated recovery area for this endangered population.
Yet rather than attempting to relocate her, federal wildlife managers have opted to let her journey continue unfettered for now.
Asha, known as wolf F2754 to biologists, is fitted with a GPS tracking collar. Data shows her trek has taken her from southeastern Arizona’s forests all the way past Interstate 40 into New Mexico’s Valles Caldera National Preserve. This preserve’s mountainous terrain presents bountiful elk, likely providing ample hunting for the solo wolf this season.
While the predator’s movements have worried some ranchers, officials emphasize that Asha has not intruded on livestock. “We have no imminent plans to remove or relocate her at this time,” said a spokesmen from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest region.
Past attempts to capture and rehome wandering wolves like Asha have ultimately failed. Within months, the resilient animals venture far beyond their designated areas again in search of new territory.
Wildlife advocacy groups agree keeping tabs on Asha without interference is the wisest course going forward. “Previous relocation efforts were unsuccessful. We hope managers continue monitoring this wolf’s remarkable journey while avoiding further disruptions to her natural movements,” said a representative from Defenders of Wildlife.
As one of only 240 Mexican gray wolves living in the wild, Asha’s species remains critically endangered. The recent progress of wolf populations here cannot be impeded. Conservationists hope her epic travels might even lay the groundwork for future expansion of the fragile but growing pack.
Where the lone wolf’s path may lead next remains uncertain. For now, officials are choosing to simply let Asha roam free rather than risk interrupting her brave quest.