For the first time in four years, a Mexican gray wolf will be released into the forest of eastern Arizona to expand the population and genetic strength of the endangered species.
The adult male will be released into the Apache National Forest after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s regional office approved replacing a pack’s alpha male that was killed illegally last summer.
At last count, there were 58 Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico as part of a recovery program launched in 1998.
“When the release occurs, the male will hopefully connect with the alpha female who has not mated with another male yet and form a breeding pair in the wild, which is the ultimate goal of this process,” said Tom Buckley, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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