Critically endangered Mexican gray wolf female in captivity. Conservation efforts to breed and release these gorgeous animals back into their natural range are on going. A population of about 97 wild wolves have established territory in the Gila and Apache National Forests, in New Mexico and Arizona.

Oso in the wilderness in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico, 2016

Oso is my good friend Troy’s dog that he adopted from a shelter several years ago. Oso is a mix between an American Bulldog and a St. Bernard. Here he is patiently waiting for us to finish packing up for the steep ascent back to camp. An ascent that he, of course, made look easy, much to our chagrin, as we lumbered up the slope.

Lobo week, Life in the wild: The family

As all the other gray wolf subspecies, Mexican wolves live in tight social family groups. A family group is typically formed by a breeding pair and their multigenerational offspring. When the young are sexually mature (commonly by their second year of life) they leave their natal pack to find a mate, establish a new territory and start a family of their own. Ideally, the dispersing wolf has by then learned from his or her parents the survival skills necessary to thrive (like hunting techniques and safe travel paths) . Each family group has a particular set of habits and practices that builds up over time and is passed down from one generation to another.

- Image: A multigenerational family group photographed by a camera trap in the Willow Springs area, Gila National Forest, New Mexico. USFWS photo.

Wildfire shatters record for largest in New Mexico wildfire burning in the Gila National Forest is now the largest blaze on record in New Mexico, a fire incident spokesman says. Two lightning-sparked fires merged last week to form the giant blaze, which has grown to more than 170,000 acres.

Photo: Smoke from the Whitewater-Baldy Fire is seen on Tuesday, May 29, 2012, in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico. (Andrea Martinez / Gila National Forest via