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Monthly Status Report:  August 1-31, 2015 - From the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

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Endangered Species Updates
September 9, 2015

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
August 1-31, 2015


The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) in Arizona, including the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), and New Mexico.    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 semi-monthly wolf telemetry flight location information please visit www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/RWL.cfm

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 contest2013 contest and 2014 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 2015 the wild Mexican wolf population consisted of 44 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 21 packs and three single wolves.  Members of the IFT continue pup counts this month and have so far counted 39 pups produced by 11 packs in the MWEPA.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, Niku-m1331, Verde-f1333, Fuerza-m1382, m1404, and f1405)
In August, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF).  Bluestem wolves’ Verde-f1333, Fuerza-m1382, and m1404 have been located in the vicinity of the den during the month, while Niku-m1331 and f1405 have been located separate from the pack.  A diversionary food cache has been set up to reduce potential conflicts with livestock.  Wolf m1331 and f1405 has been located separate from the Bluestem Pack throughout August.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294 and M1342)
In August, the Elk Horn Pack continued to make broad movements within their traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF. Visuals on the pack have not revealed the presence of pups. The IFT will continue efforts to determine whether or not the Elk Horn Pack is traveling with pups.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, Clover-AF1280, Apache-m1383, Wuna-f1439, and fp1438)
In August, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. The Hawks Nest Pack continued to demonstrate rendezvousing behavior in August. The IFT captured and collared a female pup born in April of this year (fp1438) and a sub-adult female born last year (Wuna-f1439) this month. A diversionary food cache has been set up to reduce potential conflicts with livestock.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-M1290)
In August, Copper-M1290 remained localized in the north-central portion of the ASNF. Based on this localization and howling documented from a pup, the IFT continues attempts to determine whether Copper-M1290 has a den and pups.

Marble Pack (Zia-F1340 and mp1440)
The IFT continued to document a male wolf with a non-functional radio collar traveling with Zia-F1340 in the northwest-central portion of the ASNF. Zia-F1340 continued to display rendezvousing behavior during August. The IFT documented a minimum of five pups traveling with Zia-F1340 and her mate this month. The IFT has continued trapping efforts on the Marble Pack in an attempt to collar pups and replace the non-functional collar on the male.  The IFT captured and collared a male pup born this year (mp1440) this month.  A diversionary food cache has been set up to reduce potential conflicts with livestock.

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183 and Sandy-AF1291)
During August, the Maverick Pack traveled within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and ASNF.  The IFT has not documented denning behavior from the Maverick Pack this year.

Panther Creek Pack (Esperanza-F1339 and M1394)
The IFT has documented denning behavior from the Panther Creek Pack, and has documented a minimum of one pup.  The Panther Creek Pack has been located in the east-central portion of the ASNF throughout August.  A diversionary food cache has been set up to reduce potential conflicts with livestock.
Rim Pack (Zurina Loba-AF1305)
In August, Zurina Loba-AF1305 has remained in the traditional Rim Pack territory in the central portion of the ASNF.

Single M1161 (Collared)
M1161 has not been located during the month of August.

Bear Wallow Pack (Poco-m1338 and Bailey-f1335)
The pack continues to utilize the east-central portion of the ASNF.  The Bear Wallow Pack did not den during 2015.

ON THE FAIR:

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

Diamond Pack (collared 1437)
During August, the Diamond Pack was located on the FAIR.


IN NEW MEXICO:

Coronado Pack (collared Wesley-AM1051)
During August, AM1051 of the Coronado Pack was not located by the IFT.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, M1293 and Bravery-m1354 and Essential-m1347)
During August, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF). The IFT continues to document denning behavior in this pack during the month. A diversionary food cache has been set up and maintained to reduce potential conflicts with livestock..

Fox Mountain Pack (collared Guardian-m1396)
In August, the IFT documented the Fox Mountain Pack within their traditional territory in the northwest portion of the GNF.  The IFT attempted to trap other members of the Fox Mountain Pack this month to collar additional wolves, but efforts were unsuccessful.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240 and Acalia-AF1278)
In August, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF.  The IFT continues to document denning behavior in this pack during the month.

Lava Pack (collared Gunnolf-M1285 and Lupita-F1295)
In August, the Lava Pack was located in its traditional territory in the northwest portion of the Gila Wilderness. The IFT has documented pups produced by the Lava pack this month but has not obtained an accurate count.  Two diversionary food caches have been maintained to reduce potential conflicts with livestock.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, and Adero-m1398)
In August, AM1155 remained in the Luna Pack territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  The IFT documented pup presence with the Luna pack this month, despite the fact that no denning behavior was documented or observed.  AM1155 and Adero-m1398 have been documented traveling together and separate at different times during the month of August.  The IFT suspects that the collar on AF1115 has failed.

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296)
M1296 was not located during July.

Prieto Pack (collared AM1387, AF1251, Monty-m1386 and Tempesta-f1392)
During August, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  The IFT continues to document denning behavior in this pack during the month.  A diversionary food cache has been set up and maintained to reduce potential conflict with livestock.

San Mateo Pack (AF903 and M1345)
During August, the San Mateo pack was located within their traditional territory in north eastern portions of the GNF.

Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, Tiara-f1390, and Vida-f1397)
Throughout August, the IFT located the Willow Springs Pack in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.

Krypto-M1284 (collared)
During August, Krypto-M1284 was located within the GNF in New Mexico.

Dakotah-mp1350 (collared)
m1350 was not located during August.

MORTALITIES

No mortalities were documented during August.

INCIDENTS

During August, there were 3 livestock depredation reports involving wolves and one nuisance report.

On August 3, Wildlife Services completed a depredation investigation of a dead cow near Centerfire in New Mexico.  The investigation determined the cow had been killed by a wolf or wolves. The depredation incident was assigned to an uncollared wolf or wolves.

On August 5, an Eagar citizen was horseback riding in Murrey Basin south of Eagar.  The citizen reported being followed by 4 wolves.  The IFT listened for collared wolves and did not hear any wolves in the area.

On August 24, Wildlife Services completed a depredation investigation of a dead calf on the Green’s Peak Allotment in AZ.  The investigation determined the calf had been killed by a wolf or wolves.  The depredation incident was assigned to uncollared wolves in the area.

On August 31, Wildlife Services completed a depredation investigation of a dead calf on the Green’s Peak Allotment in AZ.  The investigation determined the calf had been killed by a wolf or wolves.  The depredation incident was assigned to the Bluestem Pack.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On August 7, IFT personnel met with FS and AZGF personnel from the Lakeside and Black Mesa Districts of the Sitgreaves national forest to discuss potential release sites.  On the same day, IFT personnel met with FS and AZGF personnel from the Payson and Pleasant Valley Districts of the Tonto national forest to discuss potential release sites.

On August 13, IFT personnel met with FS personnel from the Mt. Talyor Districts of the Cibola national forest to discuss potential release sites.

On August 18, IFT personnel attended the Springerville NRCS meeting to give a wolf update.

On August 20, IFT personnel had a meeting with permittees on the Payson and Pleasant Valley ranger districts of the Tonto National Forest to discuss potential release sites.

On August 27, IFT personnel met with FS personnel from the Magdalena District of the Cibola national forest to discuss potential release sites.

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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