Endangered Species Updates
September 10, 2014
Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
August 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 August 2014, the collared population consisted of 55 wolves with functional radio collars. On August 7, the IFT captured and collared a male wolf pup from the Bluestem Pack in Arizona. The wolf was designated mp1382 and released on site. On August 24, 2014 the IFT captured collared and released a male wolf pup from the Hawks Nest Pack. The wolf was designated mp1383 and released on site. On August 25, the IFT captured and collared mp1354 from the Dark Canyon Pack in New Mexico. There are currently 18 packs and 4 single wolves in the BRWRA.
Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, AM1341, Shadow-m1330, Niku-m1331, Unique-f1332, Verde-f1333, Esperanza-f1339, and Zia-f1340 and mp1382)
During August, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. On August 7, the IFT captured a male pup from the Bluestem Pack. The pup was collared, designated mp1382 and released on site. The Pack has moved from the den site and is using several rendezvous sites in the Packs’ traditional territory. The IFT continued to document three pups with the Bluestem Pack throughout August.
Elk Horn Pack (collared AM1287 and F1294)
In August, the Elk Horn Pack has moved to a rendezvous site in 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. The IFT has been receiving GPS points from AM1287’s collar in spite of the VHF not working. One pup has been documented with the Elk Horn Pack.
Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, Clover-AF1280 and mp1383)
During August, 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. AM1038 has been documented traveling with Clover-AF1280 even though the collar on AM1038 has malfunctioned. On August 24, the IFT captured a male pup associated with the Hawks Nest Pack. The pup was collared, designated mp1383 and released on site. The IFT has documented 1-2 pups with Hawks Nest Pack in August.
Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, Sandy-AF1291, Bailey-f1335, Geronimo-m1336 and m1342)
During August, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and the central portion of the ASNF. The Maverick is currently using several rendezvous sites both on and off of the FAIR.
Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and Zurina Loba-AF1305)
In August, 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 August, and maybe using rendezvous sites. The IFT continues to document one pup with the Rim Pack.
ON THE FAIR:
Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1343 and Ma'iitosoh-AF1283)
The Tsay o Ah Pack was located on the FAIR throughout the month of August.
Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-M1290)
Copper-M1290 was located on the FAIR throughout the month of August.
M1249 was located on the FAIR throughout the month of August.
IN NEW MEXICO:
Canyon Creek Pack (collared AM1252 and AF1246)
During August, the IFT located these wolves within their traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF.
Coronado Pack (collared Wesley-AM1051, Ernesta-AF1126, fp1348)
In August, the Coronado Pack has remained in the vicinity of the release site within the Gila Wilderness. Following the packs self-release from the pen, the three male pup’s (mp1349, mp1350, and mp1351) radio collars were retrieved; the pups had slipped their collars off. Throughout August, fp1348 remained collared.
Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, M1293, and mp1354)
The IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF throughout August. In August, the IFT continued to document all five pups utilizing the food cache indicating that the cross-fostering operation conducted in May 2014 was successful. On August 25, the IFT captured and collared a male wolf pup (mp1354) associated with the Dark Canyon Pack; all pups were assigned stud book numbers during the cross-fostering event. mp1354 is one of the three offspring of AM992 and AF923, not one of the two pups cross-fostered into the Dark Canyon Pack den in May.
Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212 and m1345)
During August, 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 help deter the pack from depredating on livestock and no depredations have resulted since the food cache has been established. The IFT continues to document four pups associated with the Fox Mountain Pack.
Lava Pack (collared Hunt-M1282 and Lupita-F1295)
Throughout August, the Lava Pack pair remained separate. Wolf F1295 has remained in the Gila Wilderness and was located with single wolf Gunnolf-M1285 on August 25. Hunt-M1282 has been located with the San Mateo Pack (Hunt-M1282’s natal pack) throughout August.
Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, and Sprocket-m1337)
In August, the IFT located the alpha pair within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. On August 20, the IFT documented three pups associated with the Luna Pack. On August 11, Krypto-M1284 was located with the Luna Pack (its natal pack) and was located with the Pack throughout the remainder of August.
Prieto Pack (collared AF1251)
In August, 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 help prevent livestock depredations by the Prieto Pack. Both adult wolves associated with the Prieto pack have been documented using this food cache. No pups have been documented.
Mangas Pack (collared AM1296)
In August, the Mangas Pack utilized the area in the northeastern portion of the GNF. The IFT has not documented any pups associated with AM1296 during the month of August.
San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157 and AF903)
In August, the IFT located AM1157 and AF903 in the Pack’s traditional territory in the northern portion of the GNF. Hunt-M1282 is still traveling with the San Mateo Pack (1282’s natal pack) after it was released with F1295 in the Gila Wilderness in July. F1295 remains in the Gila wilderness. On August 19, the IFT documented one pup with the San Mateo Pack.
Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, and Poco-m1338)
In August, 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 AM1240 and Acalia-AF1278)
In August, 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 behavior this year and continues to be fairly localized suggestive of use of a rendezvous site.
In August, M1254 moved through the eastern portion in the GNF of New Mexico including the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness.
On August 11, during the weekly flight, Krypto-M1284 was located with the Luna Pack in the northern-central portion of the Gila National forest. The wolf has stayed with the Luna Pack (M1284’s natal pack) throughout August.
In August, Gunnolf-M1285 made wide dispersal movements in the GNF of New Mexico including the Gila Wilderness area. On August 25, Gunnolf-M1285 was located with F1295 from the Lava Pack in the Gila Wilderness.
In August, M1286 made wide dispersal movements through the GNF.
No wolf mortalities were documented in August.
The IFT received the necropsy report for M1253, a wolf that was recovered from the FAIR in April 2014. The cause of death was due to stomach cancer. The necropsy results also yielded information that M1253 was actually a previously identified wolf with studbook M825. M825 was a Hon-dah pup released on the FAIR in 2003.
During August there were eight livestock depredation reports involving nine animals and no nuisance reports in the BRWRA.
On August 3, Wildlife Services investigated 1 dead calf near O Bar O- New Mexico. The investigation determined the calf was killed by wolves. The depredation was assigned to 2 uncollared wolves loosely associated with the Luna Pack.
On August 6, Wildlife Services investigated 1 dead cow near Canyon Del Buey in New Mexico. The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves. The depredation was assigned to members of the San Mateo Pack.
On August 13, Wildlife Services investigated an injury to a cow near Dry Lakes in New Mexico. The injury was confirmed as being caused by a wolf.
On August 20, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Cox Canyon in New Mexico. The investigation determined the calf was a probable wolf kill.
On August 21, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Bill Knight Gap in New Mexico. The investigation determined the calf was killed by a wolf. The depredation was assigned to an uncollared wolf or wolves.
On August 23, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Pat Knoll in Arizona. The investigation determined the calf was killed by a bear.
On August 26, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Geneva Tank in Arizona. The investigation determined the cow died of unknown causes.
On August 26, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Big Lake in Arizona. The investigation determined the cow died from being struck by lightning.
On August 14, project personnel transferred F1222 from the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility to Wolf Haven International.
On August 14, project personnel transferred M1130 and F1226 from the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility to the Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility to allow for maintenance at the Sevilleta.
On August 18, project personnel transferred M1274 and F1202 from the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility to the Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility to allow for maintenance at the Sevilleta.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION
On August 9, the IFT gave a project update to 50 members of the public at the Big Lake Campground in Arizona.
On August 30, IFT personnel attended the Wildlife and Science Festival in Woodland Park in Pinetop Arizona. The Festival was attended by about 1,000 people.
In August Charlotte Catalano concluded her internship with the USFWS. Thanks for all your help Charlotte!
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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