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Monthly Status Report: May 1-31, 2014 - From the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team (posted 6/18/14)

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Endangered Species Updates
June 17, 2014
Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
May 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 May 2014, the collared population consisted of 48 wolves with functional radio collars. M1240 and Acalia-F1278 have been located together for three months and are denning. They will now be referred to as the Iron Creek Pack. There are currently 17 packs and 3 single wolves within the BRWRA.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, A M1341, Shadow-mp1330, Niku-mp1331, Unique-fp1332, Verde-fp1333, Esperanza-fp1339, and Zia-fp1340)
During May, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. The Bluestem Pack continues to exhibit denning behavior and the IFT counted at least 3 new pups with the pack this month.

Coronado Pack (collared M1249 and Ernesta-F1126)
In May M1249 and Ernesta-F1126 were still separated. On May 1, a food cache was started for Ernesta-F1126 and the IFT determined that Ernesta-F1126 had whelped pups. Ernesta-F1126 has no previous experience in the wild, and with no mate to assist her with hunting and rearing the pups, the IFT determined that the pups would not likely survive based on previous occurrences of inexperienced lone females being unsuccessful in raising pups in the wild. On May 14, trapping was initiated to catch and remove Ernesta-F1126 and her pups to captivity. On May 16, the IFT caught Ernesta-F1126 and located the den with 6 pups. The IFT removed Ernesta-F1126 to captivity with four of the pups and all of these wolves were alive at the end of May. The two remaining pups were translocated into the Dark Canyon Pack den in New Mexico for cross-fostering purposes to be raised by the Dark Canyon Pack.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AM1287 and F1294)
In May, the Elk Horn Pack exhibited denning behavior within their traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona. The telemetry collar on AM1287 stopped functioning this month. The IFT has confirmed that AM1287 is still alive and with F1294 in May.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038 and Clover-f1280)
During May, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. The Hawks Nest Pack continues to exhibit denning behavior.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-M1290 and F1218)
In May F1218 was located dead in Arizona. The incident is under investigation. Copper-M1290 has traveled separate from F1218 since the pair had split up in April. Copper-M1290 traveled north through WMAT and was observed near livestock on May 16. Copper-M1290 was chased out of the livestock and remained on WMAT until May 30, when a member of the IFT obtained a visual of Copper-M1290 and one uncollared.

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, Sandy-AF1291, Bailey-f1335, Geronimo-mp1336 and m1342)
During May, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and the central portion of the ASNF. On May 25, the IFT documented a minimum of four pups in the Maverick Pack.

Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and Zurina Loba-F1305)
In May, the Rim Pack was located in the south-central portion of the ASNF. The pack is exhibiting denning behavior and on May 30, a member of the IFT observed at least one pup with the Rim Pack.

ON THE FAIR:

Tsay o Ah Pack (M1343 and Ma'iitosoh-f1283)
Throughout May, the Tsay o Ah Pack was located on the FAIR. The IFT continues to document denning behavior in this Pack.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Canyon Creek Pack (collared M1252 and F1246)
During May, the IFT located these wolves within their traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF. During May, the IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923 and M1293)
Throughout May, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF. In early May IFT documented denning behavior in this pack. On May 15, members of the IFT cross-fostered two pups from F1126s litter into the Dark Canyon packs den. Three pups were located in the Dark Canyon den; AF923 is now caring for five pups. After the two pups were cross-fostered into the Dark Canyon Pack, AF923 moved the pups to a new den location. A supplemental food cache was established to aid AF923 in caring for the additional pups placed in its den.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212, M1276 and m1345)
During May, the IFT documented these wolves within the northwest portion of the GNF. M1276 has not been located during the month of May. The Fox Mountain Pack continues to display denning behavior. On May 2, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Centerfire New Mexico. The investigation determined that the cow was killed by wolves and the incident was assigned to AM1158 or one uncollared wolf loosely associated with the Fox Mountain Pack. A food cache was established by the IFT and no depredations have resulted since the food cache has been utilized by pack members. The IFT continues to monitor the Fox Mountain Pack closely.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, and Sprocket-m1337)
In May, the IFT located the alpha pair within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. In May Krypto-M1284 has been located separate from the pack for at least three months and is now considered a single wolf. The Luna Pack has continued to display denning behavior. Two uncollared wolves have been documented with the Luna Pack. The IFT believes these uncollared wolves are pups from 2013.

Prieto Pack (collared F1251)
In May, the IFT located this wolf within its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT documented denning behavior in this pack May. The breeding male is uncollared.

Mangas Pack (M1296 and Luna-f1327)
In May, the Mangas Pack utilized the area in the Northeastern Portion of the GNF. The IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack in May.

San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157 and AF903)
In May, the IFT located AM1157 and AF903 in the pack’s traditional territory in the northern portion of the GNF. The IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack despite the advanced age of AF903. On May 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Canyon Del Buey in New Mexico. The cow was confirmed to have been killed by a wolf and assigned to an uncollared wolf associated with the San Mateo pack.

Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, and Poco-mp1338)
In May, the Willow Springs Pack used their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The Willow Springs pack continues to display denning behavior.

Iron Creek Pack (collared M1240 and Acalia-F1278)
M1240 has been located with Acalia-F1278 in May. In May, Acalia-F1278 began displaying denning behavior. Because they have displayed denning behavior and been located together for almost three months M1240 and Acalia-F1278 have been designated the Iron Creek Pack. This pack has localized in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the Southern portion of the Gila National Forest.

Krypto-M1284 (collared)
In May, Krypto-M1284 has been located separate from the Luna Pack for three months and is now considered a single wolf. Krypto-M1284 made dispersal movements traveling between the GNF and the Gila Wilderness area. On May 19, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near O bar O Mountain in New Mexico. The cause of death was confirmed as a wolf and assigned to Krypto-M1284 and any uncollared wolves with it at the time.

Gunnolf-M1285 (collared)
In May, Gunnolf-M1285 has made wide dispersal movements in the GNF of New Mexico and the Gila Wilderness area.

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


MORTALITIES

In May, F1218 was found dead in Arizona. The incident is under investigation.

The IFT received the necropsy report for AM1253, who was found dead in Arizona. The report concluded that AM1253 died of NEOPLASIA-ADENOCARCINOMA (a type of cancer).


INCIDENTS

During May there were seven livestock depredation reports and one nuisance report in the BRWRA.

On May 2, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf north of Luna, New Mexico. The cause of death was confirmed as a wolf. The incident was assigned to AM1158 of the Fox Mountain Pack or an uncollared loosely associated with the Fox Mountain Pack.

On May 4, Wildlife Services investigated five dead sheep near Luna, New Mexico. The investigation determined that the sheep were killed by domestic dog(s).

On May 10, Wildlife Services investigated an injured cow north of Luna, New Mexico. The investigation determined the injury was wolf caused. The calf survived its injuries.

On May 12, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Pot Tank in New Mexico. The calf was determined to have been killed by coyotes.

On May 16, M1290 was observed by a ranch hand near livestock near Greens Peak in Arizona. The wolf was chased out of the area.

On May 19, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near O bar O Canyon in New Mexico. The cause of death was confirmed as a wolf. The depredation was assigned to M1284 and any uncollared wolves with it at the time.

On May 20, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Canyon Del Buey in New Mexico. The investigation determined the cow was killed by a black bear.

On May 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Canyon Del Buey in New Mexico. The cow was confirmed to have been killed by a wolf. The depredation was assigned to an uncollared associated with the San Mateo pack.



CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

On May 2, Wesley-M1051 was captured at the Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility and transferred to the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility in preparation to reunite him with Ernesta-F1126.

On May 15, the IFT removed Ernesta-F1126 and 4 pups from the wild to captivity. Ernesta-F1126 and the 4 pups were taken to Sevilleta and placed in an enclosure adjacent to Wesley-M1051, Ernesta-F1126’s mate from 2013. Ernesta-F1126 continued to care for an unknown number of pups, and positive behavior was observed between Wesley-M1051 and Ernesta-F1126 along a shared fence line. On May 17, staff successfully reunited Wesley-M1051 with Ernesta-F1126. Both adults are assisting with the rearing of the pups and all four pups are surviving.


COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On May 27, the IFT gave a presentation to 35 students from the Corona Del Sol High school in Arizona.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

In May, Grant Samsill started his internship with the AGFD on the Mexican Wolf Project. Welcome to the project Grant!


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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