Two captive Mexican gray wolves, previously living at the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility in New Mexico, have been released into the wild as part of the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program.
The Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team released M1130 and F1305 into a “soft release” enclosure in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest on April 23. The wolves will remain in that enclosure until they chew through the fence and self-release. This allows them to acclimate to the area while still protected from other animals by the enclosure fence. The IFT will provide supplemental food in the area while the wolves learn to catch their own food. The provision of supplemental food will also encourage the wolves to establish their new territory in the area of release.
F1305 is the Rim Pack breeding female, who was captured in January and paired with M1130, a more genetically-diverse male who was born at the California Wolf Center in 2008. Researchers believe F1305 is currently pregnant and are hopeful about her ability to successfully raise a litter with M1130’s help.
There are now more than 100 Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest, all part of a reintroduction program which started in 1998. The population is still listed as “nonessential, experimental” and thus the animals are not protected by the Endangered Species Act.