Endangered Species Updates
February 14, 2014
Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project
Monthly Update - January 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.
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
Project personnel completed the 2013 end-of-year population count on January 31. The specific minimum population estimate for 2013 is 83 wolves with five breeding pairs. A breeding pair consists of at least one adult male (including an alpha male), at least one adult female (including an alpha female), and at least two pups produced during the same year that survive until the end of December. As a result of survey and capture efforts associated with the end-of-year population count, the collared population at the end of January 2014 consisted of 50 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 13 packs and three single wolves.
Note: In accordance with Standard Operating Procedure 27.0, the end-of-the-year population count is a minimum count with no range of numbers or associated statistical confidence intervals. The count includes three components:
1. All current radio-collared wolves and their pack associates being monitored as of December 31 of each year;
2. Radio-collared wolves whose collars are not functioning, but for which evidence exists indicating they were likely to have been on December 31, as determined by the IFT;
3. Uncollared wolves confirmed by IFT personnel anytime during November, December and January.
On January 20, the IFT captured and removed AF1056 from the Paradise Pack in accordance with a removal order issued by the FWS in September and extended till February.
On January 20, the IFT captured and removed M1249 from the Paradise Pack. M1249 will be paired with a captive female and released in the spring of 2014.
On January 20, the IFT captured and removed Copper-m1290 from the Maverick Pack. Copper-m1290 will be paired with a captive female and the pair will be released in the spring of 2014.
On January 20, the IFT captured and re-collared AM1038 of the Hawks Nest Pack. AM1038 was processed and released back into the pack territory.
On January 21, the IFT captured and re-collared f1294 from the Elk Horn Pack. This wolf was fitted with a telemetry collar and released back into the pack territory.
On January 21, the IFT captured and collared a previously uncollared female pup, fp1339 from the Bluestem Pack in Arizona. This wolf was fitted with a telemetry collar and released back into the pack territory.
On January 21, the IFT captured and collared a another previously uncollared female wolf pup, fp1340 from the Bluestem Pack in Arizona. This wolf was fitted with a telemetry collar and released back into the pack territory.
On January 21, the IFT captured and collared a previously uncollared adult male wolf, M1341 from the Bluestem Pack in Arizona. This wolf was fitted with a telemetry collar and released back into the pack territory. The IFT is waiting on genetics to determine if M1341 is the breeding male in the Bluestem Pack.
On January 21, the IFT captured and collared a previously uncollared male wolf, m1342 from the Maverick Pack. This wolf was fitted with a telemetry collar and released back into the pack territory.
On January 21, the IFT captured and re-collared AM1183 from the Maverick Pack. This wolf was fitted with a telemetry collar and released back into the pack territory.
On January 22, the IFT captured and collared a previously uncollared male wolf M1343 on the WMAT. This wolf was fitted with a telemetry collar and released on site.
Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, Huckleberry-m1275, mp1330, mp1331, fp1332, fp1333, fp1339, fp1340 and M1341)
In January, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. During the annual helicopter survey ten wolves, nine collared and one uncollared were observed in the Bluestem Pack. On January 21, the IFT captured and collared wolves M1341, fp1340 and fp1339 during the helicopter survey. The wolves were processed and released back into their traditional territory.
Elk Horn Pack (collared AM1287 and F1294)
In January, the IFT located this pack traveling in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona. During the annual helicopter survey two wolves, both collared, were observed in the Elk Horn Pack. On January 21, the IFT captured F1294 and replaced its malfunctioning radio collar. The wolf was processed and released into its traditional territory.
Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, Clover-f1280)
In January the IFT continued to document Clover-f1280, formerly of the Bluestem Pack traveling with AM1038. During the annual helicopter survey the IFT captured and replaced AM1038’s non-functioning collar. This pair of wolves has been together for three months and is now considered a pack. Since AM1038 was the Hawks Nest alpha male this pair will retain the Hawks Nest Pack name.
Paradise Pack (collared AF1056 and M1249)
During January, AF1056 and M1249, continued to travel together in the Paradise Pack territory in the northern portion of the ASNF. During January, M1249 had been documented traveling with AF 1056 for three months and is now considered a member of the Paradise Pack. On January 20, during the annual helicopter survey, the IFT captured both AF1056 and M1249. The wolf AF1056 was permanently removed to captivity per a USFWS removal order for depredations issued in September. The wolf M1249 was temporarily removed to captivity where it will be paired with a genetically valuable female wolf to promote pair-bonding and potential breeding. The IFT plans to release this pair into the wild in the spring of 2014. M1249 will retain the Paradise Pack name.
Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and Zurina Loba-f1305)
Throughout January, the IFT located AM1107 and Zurina Loba-f1305 using the south-central portion of the ASNF. During the annual helicopter survey two collared wolves were observed in the Rim Pack.
Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, Copper-m1290, Sandy-f1291, Bailey-f1335, m1342 and mp1336)
In January, the Maverick Pack traveled between the FAIR and the south central portion of ASNF. On January 20, the IFT caught Copper-m1290 during the annual helicopter survey. Copper-m1290 was temporarily moved to a holding pen where he will be paired with a captive female and released in spring 2014. On January 21, during the annual helicopter survey the IFT captured AM1183 and replaced non-functioning telemetry collar. The IFT also captured an uncollared juvenile male. The wolf was collared and assigned studbook number m1342. Both captured wolves were released into their traditional territory.
ON THE FAIR:
Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1253 and Ma'iitosoh-f1283)
During January, the IFT located AM1253 on the FAIR. Wolf Ma'iitosoh-f1283 was located traveling with M1343 on the FAIR this month.
Single (collared M1343)
On January 22, M1343 was captured and collared during the annual helicopter survey. M1343 was released on sight and has been traveling with Ma'iitosoh-f1283 from the Tsay-o-Ah Pack
IN NEW MEXICO:
Canyon Creek Pack (collared M1252 and F1246)
In January, the IFT located these wolves traveling together in the central portion of the GNF. During the annual helicopter operation the IFT observed two collared wolves and one uncollared wolf in the Canyon Creek Pack.
Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923 and M1293)
Throughout January, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF.
Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212, and M1276)
During January, the IFT documented these wolves traveling in the northwest portion of the GNF. At the beginning of January M1276 began displaying dispersal behavior and was often located separate from the pack.
Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, Krypto-m1284, Gunnolf-m1285, Faloan-m1286 and Sprocket-m1337)
In January, the IFT located these wolves in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT located Krypto-m1284 traveling with and separate from the alpha animals in January. Gunnolf-m1285 and Faloan-m1286 were located separate from one-another and from the two alpha wolves throughout January.
Prieto Pack (collared F1251)
Throughout January, the IFT located this wolf in the north-central portion of the GNF. During the annual helicopter population survey the IFT observed 2 wolves in the Prieto Pack.
San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157, AF903, M1249, Hunt-m1282 and Luna-f1327)
In January, the IFT located the San Mateo Pack in its traditional territory in the northern portion of the GNF. The alpha animals, AM1157 and AF903, have been located separate but within the pack’s territory throughout January. Hunt-m1282 was located traveling outside of the BRWRA and, in late-January, traveling with single wolf Lupita-f1295. The IFT documented Luna-f1327 traveling with single wolf M1296 in the northern portion of the GNF and outside the BRWRA. Wolf M1249 is now considered a member of the Paradise Pack: this wolf was captured and temporarily removed to facilitate pair-bonding with a captive female.
Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, mp1329 and mp1338)
In mid-January, a private trapper caught an uncollared wolf. The IFT was notified of the capture, processed the wolf, and assigned it studbook number mp1338. Although, both mp1329 and mp1338 have been located separate from the Willow Springs Pack in January, mp1338 documented traveling with the alpha animals following its capture.
The IFT documented this wolf traveling through portions of Arizona and New Mexico in January. During the annual helicopter survey the IFT documented this wolf with Acalia-f1278, but by the end of January M1240 was located traveling separate from Acalia-f1278.
In January, the IFT located this wolf dead. The incident is under investigation and M1244 is not included in the population totals for this month.
The IFT documented Acalia-f1278 traveling in the south-central portion of the GNF. Since M1244 was found dead in January, Acalia-f1278 has been located with single wolf M1240 and dispersing Luna Pack wolf M1284 on different occasions.
In January, Lupita-f1295 was located traveling outside of the BRWRA and, in late-January, traveling with Hunt-m1282 of the San Mateo Pack in New Mexico.
In January, the IFT located this wolf traveling with Luna-f1327 from the San Mateo Pack in the northeastern portion of the GNF and outside the BRWRA.
In January, M1244 was found dead in New Mexico. The incident is under investigation.
During January, there were two livestock depredation reports and no nuisance reports in the BRWRA.
On January 19, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Black Peak in New Mexico. The cow was confirmed as being killed by wolves.
On January 23, Wildlife Services investigated another dead cow near Black Peak in New Mexico. The cow was confirmed as being killed by wolves.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION
On January 22, the Middle Management Team executives’ meeting was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
No significant activity to report.
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.