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2 Mexican gray wolf pairs being released

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two Mexican gray wolves have been released in southeastern Arizona.

Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say the pair includes a male that was captured during the annual wolf population survey in January. The animal was matched with a female in a pen on the Apache National Forest during breeding season.

A second pair held at a wolf center in New Mexico will be released next week.

Officials also confirmed two wolves that had roamed out of the recovery area and into the El Malpais National Monument in western New Mexico were captured last week and returned to captivity.

The most recent survey shows there were at least 83 Mexican gray wolves in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona in January. That’s up from 75 last year.