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Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project News

Monthly Status Report:  November 1-30, 2014 - From the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

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Endangered Species Updates
December 11, 2014


Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
November 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 November, the collared population consisted of 57 wolves with functional radio collars.  There are currently 19 packs and 4 single wolves in the BRWRA.  As of this report the IFT has documented 40 pups produced in the wild population for 2014.
The IFT initiated efforts to document the overall wolf population this month with track counts and visual observations being obtained on known packs. Food caches and camera traps are also being deployed in an effort to document the uncollared portion of the population.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, AM1341, Shadow-m1330, Niku-m1331, Verde-f1333, Esperanza-f1339, and Zia-f1340 and mp1382)
In November, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF.  The IFT documented thirteen wolves in the Bluestem pack during November.  On November 1, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow south of Middle Mountain in Arizona.  The investigation determined that the cow was killed by wolves.  The depredation was assigned to the adults and juveniles in the Bluestem Pack.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294)
In November, AF1294 was located within its traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona. During November the IFT documented two uncollared pups traveling with AF1294 indicating the Elk Horn Pack currently consists of three wolves.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, Clover-AF1280 and mp1383)
During November, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF.  The IFT documented the Hawks Nest Pack consisting of two adults and three pups in November.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-M1290)
In November, M1290 traveled between the northern portion of the FAIR and the north portion of the ASNF.  The IFT was able to confirm that a second uncollared wolf is still traveling with M1290 this month.

Rim Pack and Maverick Pack (collared AM1107, Zurina Loba-AF1305 and Geronimo-m1336)
In November, AM1107 was found dead in Arizona.  The incident is under investigation.  Since that time, Geronimo-m1336 from the Maverick Pack has been documented several times traveling with Zurina Loba-AF1305 in November.  Zurina Loba-AF1305 and Geronimo-m1336 were located together in the south-central portion of the ASNF throughout November.

Single Unique-f1332 (Collared)
Wolf f1332 has remained in Arizona and has traveled the south central portion of the ASNF.  During the yearly population counts, the IFT found tracks of a second wolf traveling with f1332.


ON THE FAIR:

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, Sandy-AF1291, Bailey-f1335, and m1342)
During November, the Maverick Pack traveled within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and ASNF.  During the early part of November Geronimo-m1336 left the Maverick Pack and began traveling with Rim Zurina Loba-AF1305 within the Rim Pack traditional territory.  M1342 began making dispersal movements this month.  The wolf was located near Eagle peak in New Mexico during the first part of November.  M1342 then returned to the Maverick Pack and has been located with the Maverick Pack at the end of November.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1343 and Ma'iitosoh-AF1283)
During November, the Tsay o Ah Pack was located on the FAIR.

Tse ighan lige Pack (collared M1249, f1389 and f1388)
During November, M1249 was located on the FAIR.


IN NEW MEXICO:

Canyon Creek Pack (collared AM1252 and AF1246)
During November, the IFT located these wolves within their traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF.

Coronado Pack (collared Wesley-AM1051, Ernesta-AF1126 and mp1350)
Throughout November the IFT located the Coronado pack within the Gila Wilderness.  On November 27 and 29, the IFT investigated several nuisance reports concerning the Coronado pack in the vicinity of Gila Hot Springs. The pack was closely monitored and hazed through the end of the month.  The Coronado Pack continues to remain within the Gila Wilderness.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923 and M1293)
Throughout November, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212, m1345 and mp1384)
During November, the IFT documented AM1158, AF1212, and mp1384 of the Fox Mountain Pack within its traditional territory in the northwest portion of the GNF.  m1345 has been documented repeatedly with AF903 from the San Mateo pack.  A food cache has been maintained for the Fox Mountain Pack this month in an effort to prevent livestock depredations.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240 and Acalia-AF1278)
In November, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the Gila National Forest.

Lava Pack (collared Hunt-M1282 and Lupita-F1295)
Through November, Hunt-M1282 has not been located. Lupita-F1295 has been located with, or in close proximity to, GunnolfM1285 in the Gila Wilderness.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, Sprocket-m1337, and M1284)
In November, AM1155, AF1115, and Sprocket-m1337 of the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  The IFT has maintained a food cache for the Luna Pack in an effort to prevent livestock depredations.  M1284 has been exhibiting dispersing behavior and has only been located with the other members of the Luna pack once this month.

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296)
In November, the Mangas Pack utilized the area in the northeastern portion of the GNF.

Prieto Pack (collared AM1387, AF1251, mp1386 and fp1392)
Throughout November, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  On November 9, fp1392 was caught and collared.  A food cache has been maintained for the Prieto Pack in an effort to prevent livestock depredations.

San Mateo Pack (AF903 and m1345)
During November the IFT has located AF903 within the traditional San Mateo territory travelling with m1345 originally from the Fox Mountain pack.  M1282 has not been located during November.

Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, Poco-m1338, mp1385, mp1390 and m1391)
Throughout November the IFT has located the Willow Springs Pack in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  The IFT documented nine wolves in the Willow Springs pack during November.  A food cache has been maintained for this pack to prevent livestock depredations.

Hunt-M1282 (collared)
Hunt-M1282 has not been located this month.

Krypto-M1284 (collared)
Throughout November, Krypto-M1284 was located with its natal pack, the Luna Pack, in the north-central portion of the GNF.

Gunnolf-M1285 (collared)
In November, Gunnolf-M1285 was located with Lupita-F1295, from the Lava Pack, within the Gila Wilderness.

MORTALITIES

In November, AM1107 from the Rim Pack was located dead in Arizona.  The incident is under investigation.
INCIDENTS
During November there were three livestock depredation reports and two nuisance reports in the BRWRA.
On November 1, Wildlife Services investigated one dead cow in Arizona south of Middle Mountain.  The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves.  The depredation was assigned to the adults and juveniles from the Bluestem Pack.
On November 19, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Canyon Del Buey in New Mexico.  The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves and the depredation was assigned to the Mangas Pack.
On November 25, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Collins Park in New Mexico.  The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves and the incident was assigned to the Luna Pack.
On November 27, a dog was attacked near Gila Hot Springs in New Mexico.  The incident was assigned to the Coronado Pack.
On November 29, a dog was attacked near Gila Hot Springs in New Mexico.  The incident was assigned to the Coronado Pack.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT
The Sevilleta Captive Management Facility remains empty due to ongoing facility maintenance.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION
On November 11, The IFT gave a presentation to 17 members of the Wildlife Society at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

PROJECT PERSONNEL
No significant activity to report.


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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Photo credits:  Amber Legras