New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Marty Frentzel, (505) 476-8013
Public contact: (505) 476-8000
martin.frentzel@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, AUG. 13, 2007:

PROGRAM VIEWS MEXICAN WOLF RESTORATION AT CLOSE RANGE

SANTA FE -- Online applications for the latest New Mexico Department of Game and Fish wildlife adventure -- monitoring wolf packs in the Gila National Forest with wolf biologist Ellen Heilhecker -- will be accepted until Aug. 27. Heilhecker monitors the wolf packs with radio-telemetry equipment, Global-Positioning System units and digital trail cameras.

Interested applicants should visit the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish website at www.wildlife.state.nm.us . The application is on the Wildlife Adventures page.

These adventures are part of the Department's Gaining Access Into Nature program. Other opportunities include attending bighorn sheep trapping and translocation projects, viewing elk during the rut on the Sargent Wildlife Management Area near Chama, and observing mule deer herds on the winter range at the Rio Chama Wildlife Management Area, also near Chama.

New Mexico has been restoring wildlife populations since the early decades of the 20th century. Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and elk were reintroduced to the state with great success. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish was the first state to develop a system of trapping and transplanting pronghorn antelope.

Restoration of Mexican wolves in the Southwest began in 1998, with releases on National Forests in Arizona . Later releases brought wolves to New Mexico , and approximately 59 of the endangered animals now reside in the recovery area that straddles the Arizona-New Mexico Mountains Ecoregion.

Applicants will need to enter a credit card number when they apply, and it will be charged a $6 application fee at that time. Four lucky applicants will be chosen for each of the three monitoring expeditions; the dates are Sept. 23, Oct. 13, and Oct. 20.

Heilhecker is tracking 15 collared wolves at this time. Visual sightings may not occur, but her trail camera has captured wolves, black bears and coyotes.

For more information, please visit the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish website at www.wildlife.state.nm.us , or call (505) 476-8013.

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