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Monthly Status Report: September 1-30, 2016 - From the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

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Endangered Species Updates
October 18, 2016


Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
September 1-30, 2016


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), San Carlos Apache Reservation (SCAR), 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
www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at 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.

This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose.  The 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 http://bit.do/mexicanwolf or 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.

Overall Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update

On September 1, The Mexican Wolf/Livestock Council met to approve payments for Mexican wolf presence for calendar year 2015.  Checks from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will be sent out to livestock producers who qualified for the payments within the next few weeks.

On September 28, The Fish and Wildlife Service met with the Forest Service Southwestern Regional Office to discuss issues surrounding public communication, coordination on release sites, and data sharing.

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 four 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 contest2014 contest, and 2015 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.  Studbook numbers listed in the monthly updated denote wolves with functioning radio collars.  The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs.


CURRENT POPULATION STATUS

Population monitoring requires year round effort documenting births, deaths, survival, total numbers, and distribution all culminating in the end of the year population counts.  Currently, there are 20 packs and 3 single wolves, which include 47 wolves with functioning radio collars that are used by the IFT to collect this data.

IN ARIZONA:

Bear Wallow Pack (collared Poco-M1338, Bailey-F1335 and fp1548)
In September, the Bear Wallow Pack was located within their traditional territory in the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF).  The female pup, fp1548, captured in August in the Bear Wallow Pack slipped its collar in September, but is believed to be healthy and still with the Bear Wallow Pack.



Bluestem Pack (collared Fuerza-M1382, F1443, Faith-f1488, and Isra-f1489)
In September, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.  The pack continued to display rendezvousing behavior through the month.

Buckalou Pack (collared F1405)
In September, F1405 continued to travel between Arizona and New Mexico in both the Gila and Apache National Forests.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, M1342, Blaze-mp1471, and mp1474)
In September, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north eastern portion of the ASNF.  A male pup, mp1471, with the Elk Horn Pack was captured, collared and released in the month of September.  mp1471 is one of the two pups cross-fostered into the Elk Horn Pack in April 2016.  The IFT documented rendezvous behavior by this pack during the month of September. The Elk Horn Pack has periodically used a food cache set up by the IFT to supplement the pack due to the cross-foster of two pups this spring.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, Apache-M1383, and Bosque-m1453)
In September, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-AM1290, Verde-AF1333, Kiko-m1441, fp1549 and fp1550)
In September, the Hoodoo Pack remained in the north central portion of the ASNF.  The IFT documented rendezvous behavior by the Hoodoo Pack this month.  The Hoodoo Pack has continued to utilize the food cache put in place for them to prevent potential depredation issues in the area.

Marble Pack (collared Shadow-AM1330)
AM1330 was not heard or located during the month of September. The Marble Pack consists of one collared wolf.

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183 and Sandy-AF1291)
In September, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and ASNF.

Panther Creek Pack (Esperanza-F1339, M1394, and mp1486)
In September, the Panther Creek Pack was been located in the east central portion of the ASNF.  The Panther Creek Pack continued to show rendezvousing behavior and utilize the food cache that the IFT has maintained for them to supplement the pack due to the two pups cross-fostered into the Panther Creek Pack in April.  A male pup, mp1486, was captured, collared, and released in September.  mp1486 is not one of the pups cross-fostered into the Panther Creek Pack.

Single Adero-M1398
During September, M1398 was located in Arizona and New Mexico.  On September 16, M1398 was captured, processed and released.


ON THE FAIR:

Diamond Pack (collared M1249 and Mago-m1447)
In September, the Diamond Pack was located within their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and the northwest portion of the ASNF.  Visual observations by the IFT confirmed AM1249 was traveling with the pack in September.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1343 and Ma'iitosoh-AF1283)
In September, the Tsay-o-Ah Pack was located within their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR.

Baldy Pack (collared Essential-M1347 and Libre-f1445)
In September, M1347 and f1445 were documented maintaining a territory together for at least three months – therefore they are considered a pack.  f1445 is formerly from the Tsay-o-Ah Pack and M1347 is formerly from the Dark Canyon Pack in New Mexico.  The pack was located in the eastern portion of the FAIR and northern portion of the ASNF.


IN NEW MEXICO:

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992 and Stella-f1444)
During September, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF).  f1444 was documented on trail camera traveling alone.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, Acalia-AF1278, mp1555, and mp1556)
During September, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF.  A diversionary food cache is being maintained for the Iron Creek Pack to mitigate potential wolf-livestock conflicts.  On September 29, an uncollared male pup was captured, collared and assigned studbook number 1555.  On September 30, an uncollared male pup was captured, collared, and assigned studbook number 1556. AM1240 and AF1278 were also captured and recollared on September 30.

Luna Pack (collared AM1158, F1487 and mp1554)
During September, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  The IFT is maintaining a diversionary and supplemental food cache in efforts to reduce potential for further livestock depredations.  On September 28, an uncollared male pup was captured, collared and assigned studbook number 1554.

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296 and Wuna-F1439)
During September, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in north western portions of the GNF in New Mexico.

Prieto Pack (collared Monty-M1386, Tsuki-m1455, f1456, f1553, and M1552)
During September, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  On September 14, an uncollared adult male was captured, collared and assigned studbook number 1552.  On September 15, an uncollared yearling female was captured, collared and assigned studbook number 1553.

San Mateo Pack (collared AM1345 and Survivor-AF1399)
During September, the IFT documented AM1345 and AF1399 traveling together within their territory in the north central portion of the GNF.   A diversionary food cache is being maintained for the San Mateo Pack to reduce potential wolf-livestock conflicts.  On September 3, an uncollared female pup was captured, collared and assigned studbook number 1551.  Unfortunately, the pup slipped its collar a few weeks later.  Trapping efforts will continue this fall.

SBP Pack (collared Krypto-AM1284 and Tempesta-AF1392)
In September, the SBP Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  AM1284 was not located during September.  AF1392 was located dead in New Mexico in September; the incident is under investigation. The IFT is trying to secure good opportunities to recollar AM1284 or any surviving pups.

Willow Springs Pack (collared Vida-F1397)
In September, the IFT documented the Willow Springs Pack within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.
Single M1293
During September, M1293 was located within the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico.  A public sighting report suggests M1293 may be traveling with an uncollared wolf.

Single AM1155
During September, AM1155 was documented traveling within New Mexico.


MORTALITIES

In September, AF1392 of the SBP Pack was located dead in New Mexico.  The incident is under investigation.


INCIDENTS

During September there were ten livestock depredation reports and one nuisance report.  Six of the ten depredation reports were confirmed wolf kills.

On September 3, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Navajo County, Arizona.  The investigation determined the calf had been hit by a vehicle and died from related causes.

On September 5, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows in Apache County, Arizona.  The investigation determined both cows were confirmed wolf kills.

On September 6, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, Arizona.  The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On September 7, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, Arizona.  The investigation determined the cow had died from unknown cause.

On September 9, AGFD and Wildlife Services investigated a report of two wolves fighting with dogs and acting aggressive toward people near Young, AZ.  The investigation determined domestic dogs were involved in the reported incident, not Mexican wolves.

On September 13, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, Arizona.  The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On September 15, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, Arizona.  The investigation determined the cow had been killed by coyotes.

On September 16, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, Arizona.  The investigation determined the cow died of unknown causes.

On September 25, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, New Mexico.  The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On September 26, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, New Mexico.  The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On September 29, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, Arizona.  The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.


COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On September 15, WMAT presented at a community meeting in Cedar Creek, AZ.

On September 27, WMAT presented on KNNB radio in Whiteriver, AZ.


PROJECT PERSONNEL

In September, Cyrenea Piper began her position in the IFT as a biologist with the USFWS.  Welcome to the program Cyrenea!

In September, Rae Nickerson began as a volunteer/intern with the USFWS.  Welcome to the program Rae!


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.