Four year old captive male released to hopefully replace illegally killed alpha male of the AZ Bluestem Pack-

Lobo M1133, was released last week not far from the “widowed” alpha female Bluestem AF1042. She and her pups live in Arizona. It is the onset of breeding season and due to the proximity, it is hoped the two will find each other.

The new wolf was “hard released” — simply brought to the site and released into the wild. Arizona Game and Fish is tracking him by radio collar, but so far he is not traveled toward the Bluestem female. Instead he has crossed into New Mexico.

The number of Mexican wolves hovers between 50-60 wild animals. Many more live in captivity, held for possible release. The two greatest problems are that the captive wolves have, with a few exceptions, never lived in the wild, and the entire program is based on the last 7 wolves captured just before the sub-species went extinct in the wild. So there is little genetic diversity.

Regarding the genetic bottleneck the wolf is in, folks might want to read this: A Drop in the Genetic Bucket. 16 January 2013.  By Eva Sargent, Southwest Program Director. Defenders of Wildlife




About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

27 Responses to Finally, after more than a year one new Mexican wolf is released into the wild

  1. ramses09 says:

    I have mixed thoughts about this. I’m not optimistic that the wolf will live to a ripe old age, as the saying goes. I have witnessed the hatred, the blame, & ignorance of this poor species. No thank’s to our politicians, who have (imo) made it known that a Senate seat is way more important then an Endangered Species. You would think that people would listen to science, or @ least read the books that people have spent their life’s work on studying the species. I am excited though, maybe this is the start of a positive beginning for our brother/sister wolf. God, I hope so. I don’t have faith in the species of human man.
    Which is pretty sad if you really think about it. I speak for the ones who can’t speak. Everybody has something that they covet, that they love ……. mine is wildlife. I’ve made it part of my life’s work, ever since I’ve been a little girl. I love the sunmanitu tanka.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      Well said. Same for me, pretty much.

      Someone, I think it was Immer, posted about the myths associated with animals and especially wolves. I heard all the stories as a little girl too, but for me they were just stories. What did stay with me was the historical fact that wolves were targeted for extermination by this country – I don’t know where I first heard it, at home, a book, at school, or a television documentary? But it was shocking and has stayed with me. I remember when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone also, so I have followed this issue for decades, as well as other wildlife issues. So this delisting, and subsequent killing spree has been quite a shock.

      I have been reading and gaining as much information as I can, and I found this wonderful blog which is a wealth of information from experts in the field as well as people who have a lot of experience with western wildlife. I do volunteer work also. I’m here to learn. Other than that, I am not here to win any popularity contests or justify my presence, as long as the moderators don’t mind. Thanks, all for the opportunity to read your work and your posts, and to gain such wonderful information and challenges to my thinking. 🙂

  2. Richie G says:

    Barkus senator triple rating with NRA on Ed Shultz show said he would vote against gun control because of triple a rating with NRA,what do you think the senators will do for wolves who are in the NRA pockets.

  3. Louise Kane says:

    Your post raised a question I have had for some time, when a wolf is hard released has it been raised in an environment where it has needed to capture its own food in conditions similar to those in the wild? Why was the wolf not released closer to the mateless alpha, was the wolf that release also an alpha wolf in its own circumstances? and finally what has happened to the alpha female with pups that was captured and placed into captivity for alleged livestock depredations, and her pups and mate? That was one of the most foolish, irresponsible management actions ever. And yes I know the Service had been considering lethal removal. This action was not taken due to the thousands of letters and calls in protest. Livestock protection does not justify harming this tiny struggling population of wolves or denying them of every possible means of repopulating.

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Here is a new article from Defenders of Wildlife why we need me releases of Mexican wolves.

      A Drop in the Genetic Bucket. 16 January 2013.

    • Jeff N. says:


      The male was released near the pack. In fact at one point he was located very near the Bluestem Pack. However, as noted, he decided to head to NM. He could return to AZ, who knows. He was chosen for release based on his genetic make up. He would have been a good match for the alpha female of the Blustems.

      In regard to the Fox Montain Pack. The pups are doing fine, and in fact another female has since joined the pack. She bailed on her “ex” and has been traveling with the Fox Mountain wolves.

      Her “ex” has been wandering thru AZ looking for a new gal.

      • Ramona says:

        Hi Jeff….just a quick question….are you a biologist working with the program?
        I appreciate your posts….TY.

    • Jeff N. says:


      The pens the captive wolves are raised in allow for smaller animals…rodents, pass thru and the wolves can get a little hunting practice. But they are primarily fed wild game, road kill, etc..

      They have very little contact with humans while in captivity.

      • Jeff N. says:


        What happened to the “edit” “delete post” options.

        • Ralph Maughan says:

          Jeff N. and all,

          We had to disable it because of some technical problems, but it will probably come back some with some additional enhancements.

      • Louise Kane says:

        Jeff thanks
        I wonder how their captive feeding impacts the ability for them to catch prey in the wild once they realize road kill is not available. A hard release is indeed hard.

      • Leslie says:

        Jeff, I was at the Palm Springs Living Desert Zoo and Botanical gardens last month. Fantastic place. They have captive animals they use for release and had several Mexican wolves there. Their literature said they had done a release in the 90’s sometime. They had a very nice enclosure but they could see humans and we could see them–no netting or glass etc. I got some fantastic photos. I’ll have to post them on my blog soon.

        • Maska says:

          Generally speaking, actual release candidates are kept in large enclosures with as little human contact as possible. Captive breeding facilities have a number of individual wolves that are not themselves release candidates. Some may be bred in captivity. Some may be kept primarily as genetic “insurance.” At times some of these may be “on exhibit.”

          • Ralph Maughan says:

            I visited the California Wolf Center at Julian, CA about 8 years ago. The Mexican wolves being kept for possible release were on a mostly brushy mountainside with views of the desert below about 3-5 miles away. It was the desert of big Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. There was no human activity on the side of the mountain where the wolves were kept.

            It looked like a very good place for keeping wolves away from human habituation, but the area was and is prone to fire and almost burned down twice.

            For reasons like this, it is a good thing that the Mexican wolf captive population is held in a number of facilities around the country.

        • Jeff N. says:


          Release candidates are taken to Sevilleta in NM. Contact with humans is minimal. Genetic make up and wolf personality are the factors that determine if they are candidates for release.

  4. Cecilia says:

    What can we do to help this cause? How can people be educated ? It would be great to have material circulate on the web, this is the only way to make people open they minds and make change happen. Congratulations on the project.

    • Ralph Maughan says:


      I think that folks should be emphasizing this as an attack against an American icon — Yellowstone National Park. While many people like wolves, more love our national parks, and everyone knows a bit about Yellowstone. It is a special place in our nation’s history and culture.

      The Montana ranching and recent right wing immigrants with their secessionist ideas are hostile to this concept just as they are to America’s best values. I see nothing special about Montana (or Idaho where I live) except for the beautiful country in place that was protected by earlier generations, with more foresight than what we have now. On the other hand, the Park is indeed special. American families make what amount to pilgrimages to the Park.

      Folks would do well to read Dr. Alfred Runte’s book National Parks: The American Experience (Second Edition Revised). link is

    • Maska says:

      Cecilia, you can find a wealth of information about Mexican gray wolves and find out how to help by going to or to the Mexican gray wolves page on Facebook.

  5. Lonna O'Leary says:

    I read this article and it gives me a glimmer of hope for the wolves. I too am here to learn all I can. I want to help save our wolves — all of them from the whiney ranchers and blood thirsty hunters and trappers. Oh, and let’s not forget our thoughtful government. How are we going to save them unless we have the people who are in power in this country on our side?

  6. Maska says:

    The Mexican wolf interagency field team has recaptured M1133. Details at this link:

  7. Ralph Maughan says:

    Thanks for the info, Maska, unfortunate though it is.


January 2013


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey