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Monthly Status Report: April 1-30, 2017 - From the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

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Endangered Species Updates
May 18, 2017


Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
April 1-30, 2017


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 bit.do/mexicanwolf or www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/RWL.cfm.

Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to:  the Alpine wolf office (928) 339-4329, Pinetop wolf office (928-532-2391) 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

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) met with the Southwestern Regional Office of the Forest Service on April 13 to discuss communication and the status of National Environmental Policy Act compliance for release sites in Zone 1 of the 2015 10j Rule.

On April 17, the USFWS met with the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah; Federal agencies in Mexico and the Forest Service to review model runs for population viability analysis of the Mexican wolf.

On April 18, the Department of Justice filed the 6-month progress report to the court in compliance with the Stipulated Settlement Agreement for revision of the Mexican wolf recovery plan.

On April 26, the USFWS attended the oral arguments before the District Court Judge in Tucson, Arizona regarding litigation on the revised 10j Rule and associated Environmental Impact Statement.


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 five years we had a Pup Naming Contest for Kids to name the pups born in the 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 contest2015 contest and 2016 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

Annual surveys are conducted in the winter as this is when the population experiences the least amount of natural fluctuation (i.e. in the spring the population increases dramatically with the birth of new pups and declines throughout the summer and fall as mortality is particularly high on young pups). Thus, the IFT summarizes the total number of wolves in the winter at a fairly static or consistent time of year. This allows for comparable year-to-year trends at a time of year that accounts for most mortality and survival of young pups.

During annual year-end population counts, the IFT documented a minimum of 113 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico at the end of 2016. At the end of April, there were 61 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring.

Wolves with functioning radio collars are listed by studbook number in the pack updates below.

IN ARIZONA:

Bear Wallow Pack (collared Poco-AM1338, Bailey-AF1335 and Zyanya-fp1548)
In April, the Bear Wallow Pack was located within their traditional territory in the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF). They have displayed localized behavior consistent with denning.

Bluestem Pack (AF1042, AM1341, Isra-F-1489, Atira-fp1562, Moonlight-fp1563, and Windy-mp1574)
In April, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. Male pup 1574, showed dispersal behavior and travelled outside of traditional Bluestem territory to the south. Female pup 1562 appears to be travelling alone. The IFT documented the breeding pair AF1042 and AM1341 together with F1489 and fp1563 using remote cameras. The Bluestem Pack displayed behavior consistent with denning within their traditional territory during April.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, AM1342, Blaze-mp1471, River-mp1474, and Dajanae-fp1473)
In April, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north eastern portion of the ASNF. The pack displayed behavior consistent with denning during the month of April.

Frieborn Pack (collared F1443 and Mago-M1447)
In April, F1443 and M1447 were documented within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF in Arizona and into New Mexico. Localized movements and observations by the IFT indicate the pack initiated denning in April.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038)
The Hawks Nest Pack consists of one collared wolf, AM1038. AM1038 was not located during the month of April.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-AM1290, Verde-AF1333, and Moon Beam-fp1550)
In March, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. The pack displayed behavior consistent with denning during the month of April.

Maverick Pack (collared Sandy-AF1291)
In April, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF. Localized movements from AF1291 during April were consistent with denning behavior.

Panther Creek Pack (Fuerza-M1382, Esperanza-AF1339, Rakesh-mp1483, Centinela-fp1484, and Da-Kari-mp1486)
In April, the Panther Creek Pack was located in the east central portion of the ASNF. Bluestem M1382 continued to be located traveling with AF1339 and is now considered to be the alpha male of the pack. Pups mp1483, fp1484, and mp1486 have been traveling separately from the rest of the pack. Male pup 1486 has been documented traveling in the Gila National Forest in NM. Male pup 1483 has been traveling between Arizona and New Mexico and fp1484 has been travelling mostly alone in Arizona, occasionally meeting up with mp1483. Denning behavior was not documented for the Panther Creek Pack in April.

Prime Canyon Pack (collared Faith-F1488)
In April, F1488 and an unknown wolf continued to travel together within a territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF. The pair has remained together for over three months and is now considered a pack. This pack did not display denning behavior in April.

Saffel Pack (collared Lupin-F1567and M1441)
In April, the pair F1567 and M1441 has been documented together for three months and is now considered the Saffel Pack. They have been holding territory in the north central portion of the ASNF, north of the traditional territory of the Hoodoo Pack. The pack has displayed behavior consistent with denning during the month of April.


ON THE FAIR:

Diamond Pack (collared Phoenix-f1557, Aleu-mp1559, Spirit-fp1560, Ulv-fp1570, Rio Espiritu-mp1571 and Argentum-mp1572)
In April, the Diamond Pack was located in the northern portion of the ASNF and on state lands north of the ASNF. Male pup 1572 was translocated back into the Diamond territory on the northern portion of the ANSF in Arizona after successful rehabilitation at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, and has been travelling alone in that same area. mp1572 was initially removed from the wild in March to be provided veterinary care after having been located lame.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1343 and Ma'iitosoh-AF1283)
In April, the Tsay-o-Ah Pack was located within their traditional territory on the FAIR.

Baldy Pack (collared Essential-M1347 and Libre-f1445)
The Baldy Pack was not located during the month of April.


IN NEW MEXICO:

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, Acalia-AF1278, Zeus-mp1555, and Fortitudo-mp1556)
During April, 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 (GNF). The Iron Creek Pack did not display denning behavior during April.

Lava Pack (collared Gunnolf-AM1285 and F1405)
During April, the Lava Pack was located within their traditional territory in the south eastern portion of the GNF. The Lava Pack displayed denning behavior in late April.

Leopold Pack (collared AM1293, Cancion-AF1346 and Akela-mp1561)
During April, the IFT documented the Leopold Pack within their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness. The Leopold Pack did not display denning behavior during April.

Luna Pack (collared AM1158 and AF1487)
During April, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the Gila National Forest.  The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache to reduce potential for livestock depredations. In late-April the IFT documented denning behavior in the Luna Pack.

Mangas Pack (collared M1296 and Wuna-F1439)
During April, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in the north western portion of the GNF.  In late-April, the Mangas pack displayed behavior consistent with denning.

New Pair (collared Stella-F1444 and Monty-M1386)
During April, F1444 and M1386 were documented traveling together within the west central portions of the GNF. The pair did not display denning behavior during April.

New Pair (collared Artemis-F1456 and Bravery-M1354)
During April, F1456 and M1354 were documented traveling together within the west central portions of the GNF.  This pair has shown signs of denning behavior towards the end of April.

Prieto Pack (collared AF1251, Adero-M1398, and Peaceful-fp1565)
During April, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The Prieto Pack did not display denning behavior during April.

San Mateo Pack (collared Survivor-AF1399)
During April, the San Mateo Pack continued to utilize their territory in the north central portion of the GNF. In late-April the IFT documented denning behavior.

Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared Krypto-AM1284 and Selene-F1553)
During April, the SBP Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  The SBP Pack has shown signs of denning behavior towards the end of April.

Willow Springs Pack (collared Vida-F1397)
During April, the IFT documented the Willow Springs Pack within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. F1397 slipped its collar in April.
Single collared AM1155
During April, AM1155 was documented traveling within New Mexico.

Single collared Tsuki-M1455
During April, m1455 traveled throughout east-central portions of the GNF and southern portions of the Cibola National Forest (CNF).

Single collared M1552
During April, M1552 traveled throughout northeastern portions of the GNF and central portions of the CNF.

Single collared Paz-m1569
During April, m1569 traveled throughout northern and central portions of the CNF.


MORTALITIES

There were no documented mortalities during the month of April.


INCIDENTS

During the month of April, there were three confirmed wolf depredations on livestock and no nuisance reports.

On April 11, Wildlife Services investigated a dead bull in Socorro County, NM. The investigation determined the bull was a confirmed wolf kill.

On April 15, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On April 15, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On April 20, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Socorro County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was killed by coyotes.


COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On April 6, the Fish and Wildlife Service held a community meeting in Heber, Arizona on the status of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program. The Forest Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department were also in attendance.

On April 7, the Fish and Wildlife Service held a community meeting in Young, Arizona on the status of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program. The Arizona Game and Fish Department was also in attendance.

On April 7, the IFT gave a presentation on Mexican wolf biology, management and reintroduction efforts to a Becoming an Outdoors Woman Camp in the Prescott, AZ area.

On April 26, the Fish and Wildlife Service gave a presentation on the status of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program at the Tribal ESA meeting in Ak-Chin, Arizona.


PROJECT PERSONNEL

In April, USFWS volunteer/intern Rachael Nickerson completed her commitment with the program to further her career and experience in Oregon. Thanks for all your help!

In April, Amy Fontaine began her position with the program as a USFWS volunteer/intern. Welcome to the program Amy!

In April, Nick Riso began his position with the program as a USFWS volunteer/intern. Welcome to the program Nick!


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.