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Groups urge officials to let Mexican gray wolf continue to wander in NM

Jim Clark/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP, File
In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a Mexican gray wolf leaves cover at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro County, N.M.

Conservationists are urging wildlife officials to allow a female endangered Mexican gray wolf to continue wandering in northern New Mexico.

Earlier this month the animal named Asha by schoolchildren traveled north of the Interstate 40 boundary set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is currently in the Taos area.

The Sierra Club, Wolf Conservation Center and other groups say the wolf’s wandering is proof that the current boundary for the endangered population is insufficient and should be enlarged to meet the needs of the expanding population.

They want the Mexican wolf’s range to include the southern Rockies where there’s ample suitable habitat.

Some biologists estimate the animals will need at least three populations totaling 750 wolves to overcome a lack of genetic diversity that’s hampered recovery.

At last count there were nearly 200 Mexican gray wolves roaming eastern Arizona and New Mexico.