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Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project News

Monthly Status Report: May 1-31, 2017- From the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

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Endangered Species Updates
June 21, 2017


Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
May 1-31, 2017


The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction 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 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.

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 May, there were 58 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 May, the Bear Wallow Pack was located within their traditional territory on the SCAR and 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 May, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. Male pup 1574 showed dispersal behavior and has been traveling with the Panther Creek Pack. Female pup 1562 has shown dispersal behavior and is believed to be traveling alone. The IFT documented the breeding pair AF1042 and AM1341 together with F1489 and fp1563. The Bluestem Pack displayed behavior consistent with denning within their traditional territory during May.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, AM1342, Blaze-mp1471, River-mp1474, and Dajanae-fp1473)
In May, 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 May.

Frieborn Pack (collared F1443 and Mago-M1447)
In May, 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 have been documented throughout May. The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache for the Frieborn Pack in an effort to reduce potential for wolf-livestock conflict.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038)
The Hawks Nest Pack consists of one collared wolf, AM1038. AM1038 was located travelling alone in the traditional territory of the Diamond pack in the northern portion of the ASNF in May.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-AM1290, Verde-AF1333, and Moon Beam-fp1550)
In May, 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 May.

Maverick Pack (collared Sandy-AF1291)
In May, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF. The Maverick Pack was not localized during May.

Panther Creek Pack (Fuerza-AM1382, Esperanza-AF1339, Rakesh-mp1483, Centinela-fp1484, and Da-Kari-mp1486)
In May, the Panther Creek Pack was located in the east central portion of the ASNF. Male pup 1574 from the Bluestem Pack has been traveling with Panther Creek. Male pup 1486 has been documented traveling in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. Male pup 1483 has been traveling between Arizona and New Mexico and fp1484 has been traveling mostly alone in Arizona, occasionally traveling with mp1483. In May, two neonatal pups born in captivity at the California Wolf Center were cross-fostered by the IFT into the Panther Creek den and two wild-born pups were removed to captivity. The IFT initiated a supplemental food cache near the den as part of the cross-foster effort

Prime Canyon Pack (collared Faith-F1488)
In May, F1488 and an unknown wolf continued to travel together within a territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF. This pack did not display denning behavior in May.

Saffel Pack (collared Lupin-F1567and Kiko-M1441)
In May the Saffel Pack was located 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 May. A diversionary food cache was started by the IFT for this pack in effort to avoid conflict with cattle in the area.


ON THE FAIR:

Diamond Pack (collared Phoenix-f1557, Aleu-mp1559, Spirit-fp1560, Ulv-fp1570, Rio Espiritu-mp1571 and Argentum-mp1572)
In May, the Diamond Pack was located in the northern portion of the ASNF and on state lands north of the ASNF. This month, fp1570 was located dead in Arizona; the incident is under investigation. Male pup 1572 has been documented traveling apart from the Diamond Pack. The IFT initiated a diversionary food cache on the ASNF for the Diamond Pack to reduce potential for further wolf-livestock conflict.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1343 and Ma'iitosoh-AF1283)
In May, 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 May. It has been more than three months since the Baldy Pack was located and they are now considered fate unknown.


IN NEW MEXICO:

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, Acalia-AF1278, Zeus-mp1555, and Fortitudo-mp1556)
During May, 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 IFT confirmed pups with the Iron Creek pack in May.

Lava Pack (collared Gunnolf-AM1285 and F1405)
During May, the Lava Pack was located within their traditional territory in the south eastern portion of the GNF. The IFT set up a diversionary food cache in May to reduce the potential for wolf-livestock conflicts. The Lava pack continued to display behavior consistent with denning.

Leopold Pack (collared AM1293, Cancion-AF1346 and Akela-mp1561)
During May, 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 May.

Luna Pack (collared AM1158 and AF1487)
During May, 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. The Luna Pack continued to display behavior consistent with denning.

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.

Dark Canyon (collared Stella-F1444 and Monty-M1386)
During May, F1444 and M1386 were documented traveling together within the west central portions of the GNF. The Dark Canyon Pack displayed denning behavior in May.

Copper Creek (collared Artemis-F1456 and Bravery-M1354)
During May, F1456 and M1354 were documented traveling together within the west central portions of the GNF. This pair has shown denning behavior in May.

Prieto Pack (collared AF1251, Adero-M1398, and Peaceful-fp1565)
During May, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The Prieto Pack displayed denning behavior during May. A supplemental food cache was established in May to reduce the potential for wolf-livestock conflicts.

San Mateo Pack (collared Survivor-AF1399)
During May, the San Mateo Pack continued to utilize their territory in the north central portion of the GNF. In early May, the IFT placed two genetically valuable pups into the pack’s den during a cross-foster operation in efforts to increase genetic diversity of wolves from the Brookfield Zoo, in the wild. A supplemental food cache was also set up to assist the pack’s care for the genetically diverse litter of pups.

Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared Krypto-AM1284 and Selene-F1553)
During May, the SBP Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT confirmed pups with the SBP pack in May.

Willow Springs Pack (Vida-F1397 slipped collar in April)
No collared individuals remain in this pack.
Single collared AM1155
During April, AM1155 was documented traveling within New Mexico.

Single collared Tsuki-M1455
During May, M1455 traveled throughout central to east-central portions of the GNF.

Single collared M1552
During May, M1552 traveled throughout northeastern portions of the GNF and central portions of the Cibola National Forest (CNF).

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


MORTALITIES

Diamond Pack Ulv-fp1570 was found dead in Arizona during May; the incident is under investigation.


INCIDENTS

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

On May 4, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf had been killed by coyotes.

On May 5, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Socorro County, NM. The investigation determined the cause of death was unknown.

On May 9, Wildlife Services investigated a dead bull and two dead cows in Socorro County, NM. The investigation determined the bull was a confirmed wolf kill and both of the cows were probable wolf kills.

On May 9, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Socorro County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On May 12, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Socorro County, NM. The investigation determined the cow had been killed by a bear.

On May 14, Wildlife Services investigated three dead cows in Catron County, NM. The investigations determined the cause of death was unknown for all three cows.

On May 22, Wildlife Services investigated two dead calves in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined both calves were confirmed wolf kills.

On May 30, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.


COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On May 4 and 5, members from the IFT attended a ranching workshop hosted by the X Diamond Ranch in Arizona. The workshop provided a basic understanding of the principles and tools used in low stress livestock handling and stockmanship and a discussion of how these techniques have been used to reduce wolf depredations on cattle.

On May 17, the IFT gave a presentation on Mexican wolf biology, management and reintroduction efforts to a group of 6th grade children from Winslow at their annual camping trip in the ASNF.


PROJECT PERSONNEL

In May, USFWS volunteer/intern Steven Nagy completed his commitment with the program to further his career and experience. Thanks for all your help!

In May, Maya Stahl and McKenna Zandarski joined the project as interns with AZGFD. Welcome to the program, Maya and McKenna!


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.