Wolf in Valles Caldera

Caldera Action welcomes Asha and hopes she has safe travels in the beautiful Valles Caldera.

You may have heard that a Mexican wolf is roaming in or near the Valles Caldera. This is the second time that the wolf named Asha (by some school kids) has departed the approved Mexican wolf habitat south of Interstate 40 and headed into northern New Mexico. She went to the Taos area earlier this year before being captured and returned to her officially approved recovery area.

We welcome a wolf in the Valles Caldera and hope she can stay and find other wolves to breed with. Caldera Action strongly supports reintroducing a full range of native wildlife that historically lived in the high Jemez Mountains, into the Valles Caldera. Removing illegal domestic livestock from the Caldera will improve wildlife habitat for a range of plants and animals including wolves. The Valles Caldera can become a high-altitude refugia for rare species.

For years we have heard stories from knowledgeable people that wolves have been spotted in the Caldera. No modern record of wolves in the Caldera has been made until the current appearance of Asha. Gray wolves could find plenty of habitat in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains where relatively few cattle roam and plenty of elk and deer live. The Jemez Mountains have plentiful elk and deer and small mammals to support wolves as well.

Other than the Mexican wolf population in the Gila country of southern New Mexico and the White Mountains of Arizona, the closest wolves to the Jemez Mountains are wolves in northern Colorado near the Wyoming border. The State of Colorado will release more wolves before the end of the year probably near the Elk Mountains or near Vail. These wolves or their offspring could easily roam into New Mexico as time goes by. The Jemez Mountains could be a fine place for the northern gray wolves to mix with the Mexican wolves which have a narrow genetic lineage and would benefit from an infusion of new wolf genes.

Caldera Action welcomes Asha and hopes she has safe travels in the beautiful Valles Caldera.

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