Gray Wolf Spotted in New Mexico


You have to hand it to wolves for their resiliency as a species; neither zealous ranchers nor agitated bears seem to keep them down. After getting booted from the Endangered Species list they suffered losses from hunting in Wyoming, but they might be extending their range just the same — this time in New Mexico. AP reports a large, black-colored gray wolf was spotted on, of all places, Ted Turner's Vermejo Park Ranch, which straddles a mountainous region on the border of New Mexico and Colorado.

"We don't know what it is. It looks like a gray wolf. It looks like a big black gray wolf. Where did it come from? We don't know," Mike Phillips, executive director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund in Bozeman, Mont., said Monday in a telephone interview.

"It's not a coyote. It doesn't mean it's not a socialized gray wolf that somebody let go and it just wandered around and ended up in Vermejo. And it doesn't mean it's not a gray wolf that came out of the Northern Rockies."

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents placed traps on Turner's 900-square-mile ranch in hopes of capturing the animal to determine whether or not it's a true wolf wandering south or a hybridized pet on the loose. But officials say its coloration all but rules out the chances it could be a coyote or a Mexican wolf, which has been reintroduced in parts of Southwestern New Mexico.

In 2004, a wolf killed on I-70 in Colorado wore a radio collar that identified it as part of the Yellowstone pack, so this wolf could've broken his distance record and made it all the way to New Mexico.

You go, wolf!

— Ted Alvarez

Gray wolf sighted in New Mexico (AP)