Animal Advocates Urge USFWS To Let Mexican Gray Wolf ‘Asha’ Roam Free After Efforts To Relocate Her Were Unsuccessful 

Twenty-one conservation organizations, on behalf of thousands of members, formally asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to let wandering Mexican gray wolf “Asha” roam free in northern New Mexico. The letter specifically notes that efforts to relocate Asha earlier in 2023 were ineffective, and asked that the federal and state governments provide her safe passage.

As reported by WAN, Asha was captured last January after wandering outside of an arbitrary management zone and heading north into the southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico. Her journey last winter broke new ground and sent her east of Interstate 25, across Interstate 40, and up near Taos. In June of this year, she was returned to the wild in Arizona.

Under the current Mexican gray wolf reintroduction rule, Mexican wolves are confined to the areas of Arizona and New Mexico south of Interstate 40. Regulations from the Service provide for the removal of any Mexican wolf found beyond this boundary. However, leading scientists have said that habitat in and around Grand Canyon National Park and in the southern Rocky Mountains are key places for new populations of Mexican wolves to establish themselves and ensure real recovery. Conservation organizations are currently in court challenging this boundary.

“The policy of tracking, darting, transporting, and relocating wild animals who cross an arbitrary line on a map is entirely senseless,” said Chris Smith, southwest wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “There is no harm in letting Asha roam in habitat that historically had wolves. Fear mongering and making this seem like an emergency situation doesn’t help Asha or anyone else.”

“The agencies would have the public believe that they don’t have a choice but to capture and relocate Asha, but it’s not true. The management agreement says that the agencies will monitor the wolf for 14 days and initiate and implement plans to translocate ‘with full consideration for the welfare of the wolf and the affected human environment where the wolf is located,’” said Greta Anderson, deputy director of Western Watersheds Project. “Asha’s welfare and well-being depend on her being able to fulfill her primal instincts and go where she pleases. She’s not causing any problems for anyone, so let her roam.”

“The agencies are so hung up on keeping Mexican gray wolves within their historic range, but human presence has changed the landscape. Asha and all wildlife live in the present, responding to climate change and habitat fragmentation, and seeking new territories that suit their immediate needs,” said Claire Musser, Executive Director at the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project. “Scientists have said all along that northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, along with the Grand Canyon ecoregion, are suitable habitat for lobos. Asha is simply proving the concept and we should let her lead the way.”

“Asha hasn’t ‘established’ territory outside of the Interstate 40 boundary, so this push to remove her is premature according to their own agreements,” said Regan Downey, Director of Education at the Wolf Conservation Center. “She’s dispersing, much like famous wolves Journey and Echo, and like these wolves, her travels can change the course of history. Let’s learn from her, not capture her.”

For the first time since reintroduction into the wild, the population of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico has surpassed 200 with a minimum of 241 wild wolves documented in 2022.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

More on this topic

Popular stories

International Anti-Poaching Foundation Urgently Needs Your Help As Poachers Across Africa Are Now Targeting & Killing Elephants At An Unprecedented Rate

Across Africa, the tourism industry has completely collapsed due to COVID-19. For non-profits and conservation organizations that relied heavily on income from tourism, this...

Trophy Hunters Are Gathering This Week In Nashville For Another Sickening Annual Safari Club International Convention

This week at Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee, thousands of trophy hunters will be gathering at the Safari Club International (SCI) convention. The appalling...

Breaking! South African Customs Seize More Than USD $3.5 Million Worth Of Rhino Horn Headed To Malaysia

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) Customs Unit seized a shipment of rhino horn that was destined for Malaysia. The estimated value of the recovered horn...