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Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project News

Monthly Status Report:  July 1-31, 2013 - From the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team  (posted 08/17/13)

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Our note:  You will notice that the pups of 2012, designated with m#### and f####, also have names associated with their identification numbers.  We had a Pup Naming Contest for Kids to name the pups born in 2012.  The names that you see are the winning names that we have assigned to the pups.  You can see all the entries and results here.

Endangered Species Updates
August 12, 2013

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project News
Monthly Status Report:  July 1-31, 2013

The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF).  Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA).  Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf.  Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting 
http://www.azgfd.gov/signup.

This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose.  The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).

To view weekly wolf telemetry flight location information or the 3-month wolf distribution map, please visit http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf.  On the home page, go to the “Wolf Location Information” heading on the right side of the page near the top and scroll to the specific location information you seek.

Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to:  (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653.  To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.

Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history.  Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older.  Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 24 months or pups.  The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate breeding wolves.

Definitions: A “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established territory.  In the event that one of the two alpha (dominant) wolves dies, the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack status.  The packs referenced in this update contain at least one wolf with a radio telemetry collar attached to it.  The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs.  If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.

CURRENT POPULATION STATUS

At the end of July 2013, the collared population consisted of 43 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 12 packs and four single wolves.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, Hucklebery-m1275, Clover-f1280 and Little Wild-f1289)
Throughout July, the IFT located these wolves in their traditional territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF.  The IFT has monitored this pack with trail cameras, observing six pups on July 24.  During July, the IFT located Keeper-m1277 apart from other pack members in the northeast portion of the GNF and now consider it to be a single wolf.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AM1287 and F1294)
In July, the IFT located these wolves traveling in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona.  The IFT has no evidence these wolves have a den or produced pups.

Paradise Pack (collared AM795 and AF1056)
In July, the IFT located AM795 and AF1056 using their traditional territory in the northern portion of the ASNF and the FAIR.  The IFT has no evidence the Paradise Pack produced pups this year.  On July 31, WS personnel investigated a dead calf and confirmed it as being killed by wolves.  They assigned the depredation to the Paradise Pack, which was located in the area on July 30.

Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and Zurina Loba-f1305)
On July 5, the IFT received a report that AM1107 was observed limping.  On July 6, the IFT observed AM1107 and confirmed it had an injured left front foot.  A food cache was set up and maintained for two weeks.  AM1107 used the cache, has since apparently recovered from the injury and is traveling widely again with Loba-f1305.  The two wolves continue to utilize the south-central portion of the ASNF and the SCAR.  There is no evidence they produced pups this year.  Note that this pair will not be included in the overall pack summary above until they have been documented together for at least three months.

ON THE FAIR:

Maverick Pack (collared Copper-m1290 and Sandy-f1291)
During July, the IFT located Copper-m1290 and Sandy-f1291 on the FAIR.  The IFT still has not located AM1183 due its nonfunctioning telemetry collar.  AM1183 is now considered fate unknown.

Tsay-o-Ah Pack (collared AM1253 and Ma’iitosoh-f1283)
During July, the IFT located AM1253 and f1283 on the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Canyon Creek Pack (collared M1252 and F1246)
In July, these wolves were located traveling together in the central portion of the GNF.  The IFT has not documented any pups with this pack this year.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, M1293 and Acalia-f1278)
Throughout July, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF.  The IFT documented that the pack produced at least four pups.  Yearling Acalia-f1278 traveled separately from the Dark Canyon Pack for most of July, but has recently returned. When not traveling with the Dark Canyon Pack, Acalia-f1278 has been located traveling with M1244 in the west-central portion of the GNF.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212, M1276, Pondo-m1274, Hope-f1281 and Lupita-f1295)
During July, the IFT located these wolves in the northwest portion of the GNF.  The IFT documented denning behavior with this pack and has maintained a food cache to help alleviate any depredation issues.  Throughout July, Hope-f1281 and Lupita-f1295 were periodically located separate from AM1158 and AF1212.  The IFT documented four pups with the Fox Mountain Pack by trail camera. On July 14, WS personnel investigated two dead calves near Toriette, New Mexico. The depredation was assigned to members of the Fox Mountain Pack.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, Krypto-m1284, Gunnolf-m1285 and Faloan-m1286)
In July, the IFT located these wolves in the north-central portion of the GNF.  The IFT has confirmed the Luna Pack produced pups this year.

Prieto Pack (collared F1251)
Throughout July, the IFT located this wolf in the north-central portion of the GNF.  The IFT continues to document the presence of an uncollared wolf traveling with F1251 by trail camera.  The IFT has maintained a food cache for the Prieto Pack and attempted to trap the uncollared wolf at the beginning of July with no success.  The IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack.

San Mateo Pack  (collared AM1157, AF903, M1249, Hunt-m1282 and Luna-f1327)
On July 1, the IFT trapped and collared a yearling wolf from the San Mateo Pack, designating it Luna-f1327.  The San Mateo Pack continued to use its traditional territory in the northern portion of the GNF.  No denning behavior has been documented.  The IFT has initiated trapping to replace collars on AM1157 and AF903.

Willow Springs Pack (collared M1185 and F1279)
Throughout July, the IFT located these wolves in the north-central portion of the GNF.  The IFT has documented denning behavior and confirmed the presence of pups in this pack.

M1240 (collared)
Throughout July, the IFT located M1240 primarily in the central portion of the GNF.

M1244 (collared)
In July, the IFT located this wolf traveling in the central portion of the GNF, north of the Gila Wilderness.   M1244 has been located with f1278 from the Dark Canyon Pack in July.

Keeper-m1277 (collared)
During July, the IFT has located Keeper-m1277 separate from its natal pack and now consider it a single wolf.  Throughout July, Keeper-m1277 has traveled the northeastern portion of the GNF.

M1296 (collared)
During July, the IFT located M1296 traveling in the northeastern portion of the GNF.

MORTALITIES

No significant activity to report this month.

INCIDENTS

During July, WS personnel investigated seven livestock depredation incidents and one nuisance report in the BRWRA.

On July 5, WS personnel investigated an incident where a dog was attacked by a wolf.  The attack was observed, and no collar was seen on the wolf.  They confirmed the incident and assigned it to an uncollared wolf.

On July 5, WS personnel investigated a dead calf New Mexico.  Their investigation concluded that the cause of death was unknown.

On July 9, WS personnel investigated a dead heifer in New Mexico and confirmed it as a wolf kill.  The depredation was assigned to uncollared wolves.

On July 9, WS personnel investigated a dead cow northeast of St. Johns, Arizona, and determined it was not killed by wolves.

On July 10, WS personnel investigated a dead calf near Greens Peak, Arizona, and confirmed it as a wolf kill.  The incident was assigned to uncollared wolves.

On July 14, WS personnel investigated two dead calves near Toriette, New Mexico.  They determined the calves were killed by wolves.  The depredations have been classified as one incident and assigned to members of the Fox Mountain Pack.

On July 28, WS personnel investigated a dead cow near Toriette, New Mexico, and determined the cause of death to be a lightning strike.

On July 31, WS personnel investigated a dead cow near Greens Peak, Arizona.  They confirmed the depredation as a wolf kill and assigned to the Paradise Pack.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

No significant activity to report this month.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On July 11 and 12, FWS personnel participated in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan Annual Meeting and Reunion de Lobo Mexicano in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, hosted by El Centro Ecologico del Estrada de Sonora (CEES).

On July 19 and 20, the IFT gave presentations on the status of the Mexican wolf reintroduction at the Green Fire Hike in Arizona.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

No significant activity this month.

REWARDS OFFERED

The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AGFD Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000; and the NMDGF is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican wolves.  A variety of non-governmental organizations and private individuals have pledged an additional $46,000 for a total reward amount of up to $58,000, depending on the information provided.

Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: USFWS special agents in Mesa, Arizona, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, Arizona, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at (505) 346-7828; the WMAT at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; AGFD Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700; or NMDGF Operation Game Thief at (800) 432-4263.  Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000, and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.

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Photo credit:  Rebecca Bose, Wolf Conservation Center