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Monthly Status Report: July 1-31, 2014 - From the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team (posted 8/16/14)

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Endangered Species Update
August 13, 2014

Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
July 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 July 2014, the collared population consisted of 55 wolves with functional radio collars.  On July 22, 2014 the IFT translocated the Coronado Pack, consisting of two adults and four pups of the year, into the Gila Wilderness near McKenna Park. On July 24, the Pack “self-released” from a mesh pen and are now roaming the Gila Wilderness.  There are currently 19 packs and 4 single wolves in the BRWRA.


IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, AM1341, Shadow-m1330, Niku-m1331, Unique-f1332, Verde-f1333, Esperanza-f1339, and Zia-f1340)
During July, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF.  The Bluestem Pack continues to exhibit denning behavior during the month of July.  On July 20, Wildlife Services investigated two injured horses near the 26 Road in Arizona.  The investigation determined that the horses were attacked and injured by wolves.  GPS locations from AF1042’s collar indicated that Bluestem was in the area where the two horses were injured the night of the attack. Unique (Wolf -f1332) has been located separate from the rest of the Bluestem Pack during the month of July.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AM1287 and F1294)
In July, the Elk Horn Pack exhibited denning behavior within their traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona. The IFT documented AM1287 with F1294 with the use of a trail camera this month.  One pup has been documented with the Elk Horn Pack.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038 and Clover-AF1280)
During July, 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.  The collar on AM1038 has started working again and the IFT has documented the wolf near the suspected den site during July.  At the end of July the IFT documented 1-2 pups howling with the adults in the Hawks Nest Pack.

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, Sandy-AF1291, Bailey-f1335, Geronimo-m1336 and m1342)
During July, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and the central portion of the ASNF.  The Maverick Pack continues to display denning behavior.

Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and Zurina Loba-AF1305)
In July, the Rim Pack was located in the south-central portion of the ASNF. The Rim Pack has moved periodically from one location to another during July, and maybe using rendezvous sites.  The IFT has documented one pup with the Rim Pack.


ON THE FAIR:

Tsay o Ah Pack (M1343 and Ma'iitosoh-AF1283)
Throughout July, the Tsay o Ah Pack was located on the FAIR.  The IFT continues to document denning behavior in this Pack.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-M1290)
Copper (M1290) was located on the FAIR throughout the month of July.

M1249 (collared)
M1249 was located on the FAIR throughout the month of July.


IN NEW MEXICO:

Canyon Creek Pack (collared AM1252 and AF1246)
During July, the IFT located these wolves within their traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF. The IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack during this month.

Coronado Pack (collared Wesley-AM1051, Ernesta-AF1126, fp1348, mp1349, mp1350, and mp1351)
On July 22, the Coronado Pack was transported to the Gila Wilderness where they were placed in a mesh pen near McKenna Park.  On July 24, the Coronado Pack chewed their way out of the mesh pen and this pack has remained localized in the area of the release site.  A food cache has been set up to localize the pack in the release area as well as assist help the wolves with successfully becoming established in the wild.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923 and M1293)
Throughout July, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF.  The Dark Canyon Pack continued to display denning behavior during the month of July.  In May two pups from the Coronado Pack were cross-fostered into the Dark Canyon Pack.  Three existing pups were documented in the den at that time. A food cache was established to help the Dark Canyon Pack care for the extra pups.  In July the IFT documented that five pups were utilizing the food cache indicating that the cross-fostering operation was successful.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212 and m1345)
During July, the IFT documented these wolves within the northwest portion of the GNF.  The Fox Mountain Pack continues to display denning behavior.  A food cache was established by the IFT to deter the pack from depredating on livestock and no depredations have resulted since the food cache has been established.  The IFT has obtained pictures of four pups utilizing the food cache.

Lava Pack (collared Hunt-M1282 and Lupita-F1295)
Since the Lava Pack was translocated and released at Gila Flats in New Mexico, the pair has remained separated.  Lupita (Wolf F1295) has remained in the Gila Wilderness and Hunt (M1282) traveled north and was first located near the Mal Pais in New Mexico.  Hunt (M1282) then moved south and has been located with the San Mateo Pack (Hunt's (M1282’s) natal pack) during July.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, and Sprocket-m1337)
n July, the IFT located the alpha pair within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  The Luna Pack continues to display denning behavior.

Prieto Pack (collared AF1251)
In July, the IFT located this wolf within its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  The IFT documented denning behavior this year with this pack.  A food cache has been established to prevent livestock depredations by the Prieto Pack.  Both adult wolves associated with the Prieto pack have been documented using this food cache.  On July 20, Wildlife Services investigated a report of two injured horses near Rainy Mesa in New Mexico.  It was determined that the injuries to the horses were caused by wolves.  The IFT determined the Prieto Pack was responsible for the injuries.

Mangas Pack (AM1296)
In July, the Mangas Pack utilized the area in the northeastern portion of the GNF.  The IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack.  A supplemental food cache was started to help AM1296 feed any pups associated with the Mangas Pack.  During July the IFT documented AM1296 utilizing the food cache.  The IFT has not documented any pups associated with AM1296.

San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157 and AF903)
In July, the IFT located AM1157 and AF903 in the pack’s traditional territory in the northern portion of the GNF.  After the release of the Lava Pack M1282 traveled north to the Mal Pais in New Mexico and then moved south and has been located with the San Mateo Pack during July.  The San Mateo Pack has moved this month to a suspected rendezvous site.  On July 1, members of the IFT searched the area where San Mateo has denned and found adult wolf tracks as well as puppy tracks.  The San Mateo Pack continues to demonstrate denning behavior in their new location.

Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, and Poco-m1338)
In July, the Willow Springs Pack used their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  On July 29 the IFT received a report from a member of the public that there were four pups observed in the vicinity of where the Willow Springs Pack has localized this year for denning season.  The Willow Springs Pack continues to display denning behavior.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240 and Acalia-AF1278)
In July, the Iron Creek Pack utilized their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the Gila National Forest.  The pack has displayed denning this year behavior and continues to be localized near a den or rendezvous site.

M1254 (collared)
In July, M1254 moved through the eastern portion in the GNF of New Mexico including the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness.

Krypto-M1284 (collared)
In July, Krypto (M1284) made wide dispersal movements in the GNF of New Mexico.

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

Faloan-M1286 (collared)
In July, Faloan (M1286) made wide dispersal movements in the GNF.


MORTALITIES

No wolf mortalities were documented in July.


INCIDENTS

During July there was one livestock depredation report and two nuisance reports in the BRWRA.

On July 2, Wildlife Services investigated one dead calf near OD Ridge, in Arizona.  The investigation concluded that the calf was a probable wolf kill.
On July 20, Wildlife Services investigated two injured horses near the 26 Road in Arizona.  The investigation determined that the horses were attacked and injured by wolves.  GPS locations from AF1042’s collar indicated that Bluestem was in the area where the two horses were injured the night of the attack.

On July 20, Wildlife Services investigated two injured horses near Rainy Mesa in New Mexico. The investigation determined the horses were injured by wolves and the IFT determined that the wolves responsible for the injuries were members of the Prieto Pack.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

On July 21, the Coronado Pack, consisting of Wesley-AM1051, Ernesta-AF1126 and fp1348, mp1349, mp1350, and mp1351 were captured at the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility and prepared for release to the Gila Wilderness.  On July 22, the Coronado pack was transported to the Gila Wilderness on mules.


COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On July 15 and 16, the IFT completed wildlife capture training at the Alpine Community Center.

On July 26, the IFT presented information to journalists from Arizona Highways magazine during a hike to the top of Mount Baldy in Arizona.  The hike was part of the magazines article on the 50th anniversary of the wilderness act.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

In July, Julia Smith started working as a technician for AGFD on the Mexican Wolf Project.  Welcome to the project Julia!


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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