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Conservation Groups Formally Ask for Mexican Gray Wolf ‘Asha’ To Remain Free

Asha Twitter

For immediate release: November 7, 2023

Contacts médias : 

Greta Anderson, Projet des bassins versants de l'Ouest (520)623-1878;

Claire Musser, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project (928)202 1325 

Chris Smith, WildEarth Guardians, 505-395-6177, 

Regan Downey, Wolf Conservation Center (914)763-2373, 

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – 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. 

“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 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 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.”

Want to have your voice heard? Use our Action Alert form to tell wildlife officials and representatives to let Asha roam!