The female Mexican wolf, known as Asha, was captured in northern New Mexico on Saturday, Dec. 9. This is the second time she has been captured by wildlife authorities.

The capture was done by the state Department of Game and Fish with the use of a helicopter, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She was then transferred to the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility in Socorro County.

She has been paired with a pair of male mating partners to increase her odds of successful reproduction. The current plan is to relocate Asha back into the wild sometime in 2024, either in the spring or summertime.

She could be joined by her pups if mating proves to be successful. The decision to capture Asha came after she showed no signs of returning to the species experimental area, located north of Gallup and Albuquerque in New Mexico.

This is the second time Asha has been captured by wildlife services. Back in January, she was captured near Angel Fire and kept in captivity until June, when she was returned back to the wild in Arizona.

The Mexican Wolf Recovery coordinator, Brady McGee, offered insight on the capture decision.

Our decision to capture F2754 was made out of concern for her safety and well-being, McGee said. Dispersal events like this are often in search of a mate. As there are no other known wolves in the area, she was unlikely to be successful, and risked being mistaken for a coyote and shot.”

“By pairing her with a carefully selected mate in captivity, we are hoping she will breed and have pups this spring,” McGee said. “The best outcome for her is to be released back into the wild, where she and her offspring can contribute to Mexican wolf recovery.

Asha was born in Arizona in 2021, and she was fitted with a radio collar in fall 2022. Her first capture was also related to leaving her experimental area.