|Mexican wolves M806, F838, and their two 12-week-old pups moments before their release on 7-6-06|
This year's death of Mexican wolf M806 weighed heavy on our hearts. The eight-year-old alpha male of the Bluestem Pack had survived numerous natural challenges in the wild, so news that his untimely end was at the hands of a criminal, was downright heartbreaking. The Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) family has had a special connection to M806. It began on July 6, 2006 when he and his first family, the Meridian Pack, were released into the wild. The Meridian pack's alpha female, Mexican wolf F838, connected us to M806. The special loba called the WCC home before receiving the call of the wild on that special day in July. Although F838 didn't survive long once released (she too was illegally killed by poachers), we continued to closely follow reports on her mate. We celebrated when M806 joined the Bluestem pack, when he welcomed his first litter, and when he, against all odds, survived the largest wildfire in Arizona's history as it swept through his new pack's den site. On July 6, 2012, on the six year anniversary of his release, M806 was found dead. He was one of the four wild Mexican gray wolves illegally killed in 2012.
Only time will tell what the future holds for the Bluestem Pack. New packs organically emerge and also collapse, it’s Nature’s way. But when critically endangered wolves fall victim to criminals, a helping hand is needed.
Today, Arizona Fish and Game announced that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved to release captive Mexican gray wolf M1133 in to the wild. His release is scheduled for later this month in hopes that he will fill the void created by M806's death. He will be released in the Apache National Forest of east-central Arizona, adjacent to the current territory of the Bluestem pack . Let's hope that M1133 finds a place in the pack and gets a chance to contribute to the family and the recovery of his rare species. Best of luck, M1133, and enjoy the WILD!