A female Mexican wolf was successfully translocated back into the wild in Arizona on Wednesday, June 7, 2023. Female wolf 2754 was captured in northern New Mexico in January and temporarily held at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Sevilleta Mexican Wolf Management Facility outside Socorro, New Mexico.
Female wolf 2754 was born in the Rocky Prairie pack in Arizona in 2021. She was captured and fitted with a radio collar in the fall of 2022. Later that year, she dispersed from her natal pack and crossed out of the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) north of Interstate 40 in January 2023. She traversed more than 500 miles before eventually being captured near Taos, New Mexico. The decision to move this wolf back to the MWEPA at the time was consistent with policies outlined in the Service's Recovery Permit. In addition, the lack of other wolves in the area meant there was no chance for female wolf 2754 to breed and contribute to Mexican wolf recovery.
After her capture, she was moved to the Service’s Sevilleta facility where she was paired with a male in the hopes of her breeding and producing pups this spring. Her new mate was selected based on potential genetic contribution to the wild populations.
Initial plans were to release 2754, her mate, and their pups in Mexico in support of recovery efforts in the southernmost wild Mexican wolf population, or in the MWEPA, where they could help provide a genetic boost to the U.S. wild population. However, the new pair did not successfully breed, and the decision was made to release her back to Arizona alone, rather than translocate to Mexico.
Staff with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in coordination with the Service, released female wolf 2754 into the Apache National Forest in eastern Arizona. She will continue to be monitored via radio collar.