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Monthly Status Report:  December 1-31, 2014 - From the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

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Endangered Species Updates
January 14, 2015

Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
December 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 December, the collared population consisted of 59 wolves with functional radio collars.  There are currently 19 packs and 3 single wolves in the BRWRA.

The IFT continued efforts this month 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 December, 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 in December.  At the beginning of the month the IFT captured video of the Bluestem Pack eating a cow elk that was killed by the Maverick Pack; nine wolves from the Bluestem Pack were documented utilizing the carcass on camera.  Two wolves from Bluestem, Esperanza-f1339 and mp1382 have been located separate from the rest of the pack in during the month.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294 and M1342)
In December, AF1294 was located within its traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona. M1342 from the Maverick Pack has been traveling with AF1294 throughout the month of December.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, Clover-AF1280 and mp1383)
During December, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-M1290)
In December, Copper-M1290 traveled between the northern portion of the FAIR and the north portion of the ASNF.  Copper-M1290 was also located as far south as Hannagen Meadows during the telemetry flight on December 22.  On December 28, the IFT obtained a visual on M1290 and observed the wolf by its self.

Rim Pack and Maverick Pack (Zurina Loba-AF1305 and Geronimo-m1336)
In December Zurina Loba-AF1305 and Geronimo-m1336 continued to travel together.in the south-central portion of the ASNF throughout November.  Genetic work is being performed to identify if these wolves are in fact siblings.

Single Unique-f1332 (Collared)
Unique-f1332 has remained in Arizona and has traveled the south central portion of the ASNF.


ON THE FAIR:

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, Sandy-AF1291 and Bailey-f1335)
During December, the Maverick Pack traveled within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and ASNF.  Wolf M1342 has left the Maverick Pack and has been traveling with AF1294 from the Elk Horn Pack.  The IFT located a kill made by the Maverick Pack this month.

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

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


IN NEW MEXICO:

Canyon Creek Pack (collared AM1252 and AF1246)
During December, 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 December the IFT located the Coronado pack within the Gila Wilderness.  IFT members hazed the Coronado wolves away from a residence in the Gila Hot Springs area on December 28 to December 31 when the wolves left the area.  The Coronado Pack continues to remain within the Gila Wilderness.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, M1293 and mp1354)
Throughout December, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF.  On December 15, members of the IFT located a cow elk that the Dark Canyon Pack killed and began to eat.  Traps were placed near the elk carcass and mp1354 was re-captured and re-collared.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212 and mp1384)
During December, the IFT documented AM1158, AF1212, and mp1384 of the Fox Mountain Pack within its traditional territory in the northwest portion of the GNF.  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 December, 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 Gunnolf-M1285 and Lupita-F1295)
Throughout December, Gunnolf-M1285 and Lupita-F1295 have been located together traveling the northwest portion of the Gila Wilderness.  The wolves have been together for three months and GunnolfM1285 is now considered part of the Lava Pack.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115 and Sprocket-m1337)
In December, AM1155, AF1115 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.  Sprocket-m1337 is displaying dispersal behavior, and has not been located with the Luna Pack in December. Although in recent months single Krypto-M1284 has occasionally been located with members of its natal pack; it remained separate during December.

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296)
In December, M1296 traveled between the northern portion of the GNF in New Mexico and the northeastern portion of the ASNF in Arizona.

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

San Mateo Pack (AF903 and m1345)
During December the IFT located AF903 traveling with m1345 within the traditional territory of the San Mateo Pack.

Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, Poco-m1338, mp1385, mp1390 and mp1391)
Throughout December, the IFT has located the Willow Springs Pack in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  Wolf mp1391 was not located in December and Poco-m1338 displayed dispersal behavior and roamed throughout the GNF during the month.  A food cache was maintained for this pack into December to prevent livestock depredations.

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

Krypto-M1284 (collared)
Throughout December, Krypto-M1284 was located traveling the west-central portion of the GNF.

MORTALITIES

No mortalities occurred during December.

INCIDENTS
During December there was one livestock depredation report and one nuisance report in the BRWRA.

On December 8, Wildlife Services investigated one dead cow in New Mexico near Rainy Mesa.  The investigation determined the cow was hit and killed by a car back in September.

On December 24, members of the Coronado pack (M1051 and an uncollared pup) were reported exhibiting nuisance behavior. They were observed near residences with livestock and interacting with domestic dogs through a fence. The IFT responded to the area to monitor and haze the wolves.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

No significant activity to report.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

No significant activity to report.

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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