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Monthly Status Report: March 1-31, 2014 - From the Mexican Wolf Interagence Field Team (posted 4/27/14)

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Endangered Species Update
April 24, 2014

Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
March 1-31, 2014


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.
Our note:  You will notice that some of the wolves also have names associated with their identification numbers.  For the last two years we had a Pup Naming Contest for Kids to name the pups born in Spring.  The names that you see are the winning names that we have assigned to the pups.  Follow these links for all the entries and results from the 2012 contest and 2013 contest.

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 March 2014, the collared population consisted of 48 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 14 packs and two single wolves.  Wolves M1296 and f1327 have been traveling together for three months and will now be officially named the Mangas Pack.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, Huckleberry-m1275, Shadow-mp1330, Niku-mp1331, Unique-fp1332, Verde-fp1333, Esperanza-fp1339, Zia-fp1340 and M1341)
During March, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF.  The Bluestem Pack was monitored this month as part of a predation study.  On March 8, members of the IFT found a yearling elk the Bluestem pack had killed and eaten.  On March 17, the IFT investigated a report of a single wolf south of Big Lake.  IFT members investigated the area the following day and found all collared members of the Bluestem Pack in the area.  IFT members also found the carcass of a cow elk that the pack had killed and eaten.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AM1287 and F1294)
During March, the IFT located this pack traveling in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona.  The collar on AM1287 has stopped working, but the IFT has verified that the wolf is alive and still traveling with F1294.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038 and Clover-f1280)
In March, the IFT documented these wolves using the Hawks Nest traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF.

Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and Zurina Loba-f1305)
Throughout March, the IFT located AM1107 and Zurina Loba-f1305 using the south-central portion of the ASNF.


ON THE FAIR:

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, Sandy-f1291, Bailey-f1335, m1342 and Geronimo-mp1336)
In March, the Maverick Pack traveled on the FAIR and the central portion of ASNF.  The Maverick Pack continues to travel together in their traditional territory.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1253 M1343 and Ma'iitosoh-f1283)
On March 31, the IFT located AM1253 dead.  The cause of death is under investigation.  Wolf Ma'iitosoh-f1283 is traveling with M1343 and is now called the Tsay o Ah Pack.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Canyon Creek Pack (collared M1252 and F1246)
During March, the IFT located these wolves traveling together in the central portion of the GNF.  On March 11, the IFT found two to three sets of tracks left by the Canyon Creek Pack indicating a third uncollared wolf is still traveling with M1252 and F1246.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923 and M1293)
Throughout March, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF.  M1293 has been periodically located separately from the Dark Canyon Pack during the month.  On March 6, IFT members located two sets of tracks left by AM992 and AF923 indicating no other wolves were traveling with the pack.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212, M1276 and m1345)
During March, the IFT documented these wolves traveling in the northwest portion of the GNF.  M1276 has not been located during the month of March.  On March 28, the IFT captured and re-collared AM1158.  On March 29, the IFT captured an uncollared juvenile wolf.  The wolf was collared, designated m1345 and released on site in the GNF.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, Krypto-m1284, Gunnolf-m1285, Faloan-m1286 and Sprocket-m1337)
In March, the IFT located the alpha pair in their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  All the juvenile wolves in this pack except Sprocket-m1337 have been located separate from the adult wolves throughout March, but have periodically traveled back into the Luna Pack territory.  At the end of March both Krypto-m1284 and Gunnolf-m1285 were located with single wolf Acalia-f1278.

Prieto Pack (collared F1251)
Throughout March, the IFT located this wolf in the north-central portion of the GNF.

Mangas Pack (M1296 and Luna-f1327)
In March M1296 and Luna-f1327, originally from the San Mateo Pack, had been traveling together for three months.  The pair is utilizing the area in the Northeastern Portion of the GNF.  The new pair has periodically been located outside the BRWRA, but has returned on their own within the BRWRA boundary.

San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157, AF903 and Hunt-m1282)
In March, the IFT located AM1157 and AF903 in the pack’s traditional territory in the northern portion of the GNF.   The collared San Mateo juveniles have dispersed from the main pack and have been traveling with other single wolves.  On March 28, the IFT captured Lupita-f1295 with Hunt-m1282 near the Malpais National Monument.  The wolves were removed to captivity and will be re-released into the BRWRA later this year. For the past three months, Luna-f1327 has been located with wolf M1296 in the northern portion of the GNF; they are now officially called the Mangas Pack.

Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, Nike-mp1329 and Poco-mp1338)
During March, the Willow Springs Pack used their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  The IFT has not been able to locate Nike-mp1329 during the month of March.  On March 22, a private licensed trapper caught AM1185.  The IFT responded to the trap site, processed AM1185 and released the wolf within its home-range.

M1240 (collared)
The IFT documented this wolf traveling through the central portion of the GNF.  M1240 was located with Acalia-f1278 for most of March.  M1240 was located separate from Acalia-f1278 at the end of March possibly due to the Luna juveniles Krypto-m1284 and Gunnolf-m1285 being in the area with Acalia-f1278.

Acalia-f1278 (collared)
The IFT documented Acalia-f1278 traveling in the central portion of the GNF.  The IFT has located Acalia-f1278 was with single male M1240 for most of March.  At the end of March, Acalia-f1278 was located with Luna Pack dispersing wolves Krypto-m1284 and Gunnolf-m1285.

Lupita-f1295 (collared)
In March, Lupita-f1295 was located traveling with Hunt-m1282 from the San Mateo Pack outside of the BRWRA.  The IFT captured both of these wolves on March 28 with a helicopter.  The pair will be held in captivity and re-released into the BRWRA later this year.

MORTALITIES

On March 31, AM1253 was found dead.  The cause of death is under investigation.

INCIDENTS

During March, there were seven livestock depredation reports and no nuisance reports in the BRWRA.

On March 7, Wildlife Services investigated one dead cow near Toriette, New Mexico.  The cow was determined to be a probable wolf kill.

On March 10, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Govina Canyon, New Mexico.  The cause of death was confirmed as a wolf. The incident was assigned to AM1185 and AF1279 of the Willow Springs Pack.

On March 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf on BLM land north of the BRWRA in New Mexico.  The cause of death was probable wolf.

On March 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in the north central portion of the GNF in New Mexico.  The cause of death was determined to be a confirmed wolf.  The incident was assigned to an uncollared member(s) loosely associated but not traveling with the Willow Springs Pack

On March 26, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow on WMAT.  The cow was determined not to have been killed by wolves, but died of other causes.

On March 29, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow west of Strayhorse in Arizona.  The cause of death was confirmed as a wolf and assigned to an uncollared wolf.

On March 31, Wildlife Services investigated an injured cow in the north central portion of the GNF in New Mexico.  The injuries were confirmed to have been wolf caused and the cow was euthanized due to the extent of the injuries.  The incident was assigned to AM1185, AF1279 and Poco-m1338 of the Willow Springs Pack.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

On March 13, Project personnel captured M1133 at the Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility and transferred him to Wolf Conservation Center in New York.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On March 19, the IFT hosted an independent film crew in Arizona

On March 20, IFT personnel gave an update of the project at the annual A/S National Forest – Arizona Game as Fish Department planning meeting held at Sipe Wildlife Area.

On March 31, the IFT gave an update of the project to USFS biologists at the Region 3 Biologist meeting in Albuquerque.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

In March, Beth Wojcik resigned from the Arizona Game and Fish Department.  Thanks for your hard work.

In March, Matt Ellis was hired as the new specialist for USDA Wildlife Service’s in New Mexico.  Welcome to the project, Matt.

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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