A male Mexican gray wolf released into the wild last week in hopes of expanding the endangered species is doing well, Arizona Game and Fish Department officials say.
The 4-year-old wolf set free in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest is the first of its kind to be released in the last four years, officials said in a statement.
Wildlife officials hope the wolf will replace the pack’s breeding Bluestem alpha male, which was illegally killed last year. The Mexican wolf, called M1133, was released in time for breeding season after ensuring that the alpha female hadn’t already paired with another male. If he becomes her mate, he will provide the pack with some genetic diversity.
M1133 was born in captivity in 2008 and taken to the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility later that year along with his parents and littermate. There, he was prepared for release.