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Monthly Status Report: April 1-30, 2014 - From the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team (posted 5/27/14)

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Endangered Species Updates
May 17, 2014
Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
Monthly Status Report: April 1-30, 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 April 2014, the collared population consisted of 52 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 16 packs and four single wolves.


IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, A M1341, Shadow-mp1330, Niku-mp1331, Unique-fp1332, Verde-fp1333, Esperanza-fp1339, and Zia-fp1340)
During April, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. The IFT has documented denning behavior in the Bluestem Pack starting in mid-April.  In April, Huckleberry-m1275 was located dead in Arizona. This mortality is under investigation. The IFT received genetic results and confirmed that AM1341 is the breeding male in the Bluestem Pack.

Coronado Pack (collared M1249 and Ernesta-F1126)
On April 9, the IFT released the Coronado Pack on the ASNF. The Coronado Pack initially stayed together but was subsequently split up by the Maverick Pack on April 12. M1249 traveled north and depredated a calf on April 18 and again on April 20.  On April 18, M1249 was observed near some houses in Vernon, Arizona. The nuisance report was received by the IFT on April 23.  M1249 traveled south onto the FAIR and has been on the FAIR since April 21. Ernesta-F1126 has stayed south of Wildcat Crossing. The IFT is monitoring Ernesta-F1126 to determine when the wolf will whelp its pups. The IFT does not believe M1249 will return to Ernesta-F1126.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AM1287 and F1294)
In mid-April, the IFT documented denning behavior in this pack within their traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona. AM1287's radio collar has failed; however, the IFT has verified that the wolf is alive and with F1294.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038 and Clover-f1280)
During April, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. In mid-April, the IFT documented denning behavior in the Hawks Nest Pack.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-M1290 and F1218)
On April 2, the Hoodoo Pack was released on the ASNF. The Pack traveled north and stayed in the area near Centerfire Creek. On April 5, the IFT located the Maverick Pack in the vicinity of the Hoodoo Pack. After April 5, the Hoodoo Pack was separated and located together only one other time which was on the telemetry flight on April 21. At the end of April, the Hoodoo Pack remains separated; Copper-M1290 traveled on to the FAIR and F1218 stayed near Wild Cat Crossing and the Rim in the ASNF.

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, Sandy-AF1291, Bailey-f1335, Geronimo-mp1336 and m1342)
During April, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and central portion of the ASNF. In mid-April, the IFT documented the Maverick Pack denning in the central portion of ASNF. The IFT received genetic results and confirmed that Sandy-AF1291 is the Maverick Pack's breeding female.

Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and Zurina Loba-F1305)
In April, the IFT documented denning behavior in the Rim Pack.  AM1107 and Zurina Loba-F1305 have denned in the south-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT has received genetic results back and confirmed that F1305 is the offspring of the Maverick Pack breeding pair; AM1183 and Sandy-AF1291.


ON THE FAIR:

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1253 M1343 and Ma'iitosoh-f1283)
Throughout April, the Tsay o Ah Pack was located on the FAIR. The IFT has documented denning behavior in this Pack.


IN NEW MEXICO:

Canyon Creek Pack (collared M1252 and F1246)
During April, the IFT located these wolves traveling together in the central portion of the GNF. The IFT monitored this pack to document denning behavior; in late-April the IFT documented denning behavior in this pack.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923 and M1293)
Throughout April, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF. The IFT is monitoring the Dark Canyon Pack to determine if they are denning; by the end of April no denning behavior had been documented.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212, M1276 and m1345)
During April, the IFT documented these wolves traveling in the northwest portion of the GNF. M1276 has not been located during the month of April. Newly collared wolf m1345 has been located separate from the Fox Mountain Pack periodically throughout April. The IFT documented denning behavior in the Fox Mountain pack in late-April.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, Krypto-M1284, and Sprocket-m1337)
In April, the IFT located the alpha pair in their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The juvenile wolves in this pack, Gunnolf-M1285 and Faloan-M1286, have been located separate from the Luna Pack for three months and are now considered single wolves. Krypto-M1284 has returned periodically to the Luna Pack and m1337 was typically located with the Luna Pack in April. In late-April, the IFT documented denning behavior in this pack.
Prieto Pack (collared F1251)
Throughout April, the IFT located this wolf in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT did not document denning behavior in this pack during April.

Mangas Pack (M1296 and Luna-f1327)
In April, the Mangas Pack utilized the area in the Northeastern Portion of the GNF. The IFT has not documented denning behavior in this pack during April.

San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157 and AF903)
In April, the IFT located AM1157 and AF903 in the pack’s traditional territory in the northern portion of the GNF. The IFT did not document denning behavior in this pack during the month of April and is unlikely to den this year due to the advanced age of AF903.

Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, Nike-mp1329 and Poco-mp1338)
During April, the Willow Springs Pack used their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  Nike-mp1329 has not been located for three months and is now considered fate-unknown. The IFT monitored the Willow Springs Pack throughout April, and documented denning behavior in late-April.

M1240 (collared)
The IFT documented this wolf traveling through the central portion of the GNF. M1240 was located with Acalia-f1278 during the month. The IFT is monitoring M1240 and Acalia-f1278 to determine if f1278 will den; however, no denning behavior was observed in April.

Acalia-f1278 (collared)
The IFT documented Acalia-f1278 traveling in the central portion of the GNF. The IFT has located Acalia-f1278 with single male M1240 during the month. The IFT is monitoring Acalia-f1278 and M1240 to determine if Acalia-f1278 will den; however, no denning behavior was observed in April.
Gunnolf-M1285 (collared)
In April, M1285 was located during the weekly telemetry flight near Turkey feather Pass in the Gila Wilderness. M1285 has not been located at the end of the month likely due to wide dispersal movements.

Faloan-M1286 (collared)
In April, M1286 continued to make wide dispersal movements in the GNF.


MORTALITIES

In April, Huckleberry-M1275 was found dead in Arizona. The incident is under investigation.


INCIDENTS

During April, there were six livestock depredation reports and one nuisance report in the BRWRA.

On April 23, the IFT received a report from a Vernon resident that a wolf was observed near a house on April 18.  The IFT determined the wolf was M1249 from the Coronado Pack. After the incident M1249 was confirmed as depredating two calves outside of the BRWRA and then traveled south and has been located on the FAIR since April 21.

On April 4, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Stray Horse in Arizona. The cause of death was confirmed as a wolf. The incident was assigned to an uncollared wolf.

On April 8, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Stray Horse in Arizona. The cause of death was probable wolf.
On April 9, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near the Mangas Mountains in New Mexico. The cause of death was unknown.

On April 17, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf north of Vernon Arizona. The cow was determined to have been killed by a wolf.  The depredation was assigned to M1249 of the Coronado Pack.

On April 20, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf north of Vernon Arizona. The cause of death was confirmed as a wolf. The depredation was assigned to M1249 of the Coronado Pack.

On April 25, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow outside the BRWRA in New Mexico. The cow was confirmed to have been killed by a wolf. The depredation was assigned to an uncollared wolf.


CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

On April 8, Project Personnel captured M1052 and F1203 for transfer to the Universitdad Autonoma de Queretaro in Mexico.

On April 8, Project Personnel captured M1141 and F1188 for transfer to the UMA La Mesa facility in Mexico.

On April 9, Project Personnel captured M1249 and Ernesta-F1126. Annual exams were performed as well as annual vaccinations administered. Both wolves were transferred to the IFT for release.

On April 9, Project Personnel performed a veterinary check on Pondo-M1274 and F1222.


COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On April 10, a presentation was given by the IFT to the Central Arizona Community College students.
On April 20, a trapping demonstration was given by the IFT at the Junior Turkey Camp in unit 1.


PROJECT PERSONNEL

In April, Charlotte Catalano joined the project as a USFWS volunteer.

At the end of April Quinn Harrison left the project. Thanks for all your hard work, Quinn!


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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