Endangered Species Updates
November 7, 2014
Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
October 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.
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 contest and 2013 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 October, the collared population consisted of 59 wolves with functional radio collars. There are currently 18 packs and 6 single wolves in the BRWRA. As of this report the IFT has documented 40 pups produced in the wild population for 2014.
Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, AM1341, Shadow-m1330, Niku-m1331, Verde-f1333, Esperanza-f1339, and Zia-f1340 and mp1382)
In October, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. On October 20, a member of the IFT observed eleven wolves in the Bluestem pack near Sierra Blanca Lake. The wolves were observed feeding on a dead cow elk.
Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294)
In October, AF1294 continued to be located within its traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona. No other significant events occurred involving this pack during October.
Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, Clover-AF1280 and mp1383)
During October, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. No other significant events occurred involving this pack during October.
Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-M1290)
In October, Copper-M1290 traveled between the northern portion of the FAIR and the north portion of the ASNF. No other significant events occurred involving this pack during October.
Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and Zurina Loba-AF1305)
In October, the Rim Pack was located in the south-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT attempted trap a single pup associated with the pack and AM1107 to replace the collar, but were unsuccessful.
ON THE FAIR:
Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, Sandy-AF1291, Bailey-f1335, Geronimo-m1336 and m1342)
On October 30, the IFT caught and recollared M1342. The previous collar on M1342 had failed and needed to be replaced. During October the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and ASNF.
Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1343 and Ma'iitosoh-AF1283)
During October, the Tsay o Ah Pack was located on the FAIR.
On October 14, M1249 was trapped on the FAIR. M1249 was processed and released on site. M1249 has remained on the FAIR during October.
Single f1388 (collared)
On October 12, the IFT caught and collared a juvenile female wolf on the FAIR. The wolf was collared, designated f1388 and released on site. Wolf f1388 has remained on the FAIR.
Single f1389 (collared)
On October 14, the IFT caught and collared a juvenile female wolf on the FAIR. The wolf was collared, designated f1389 and released on site. Wolf f1389 has remained on the FAIR.
IN NEW MEXICO:
Canyon Creek Pack (collared AM1252 and AF1246)
During October, the IFT located these wolves within their traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF.
Coronado Pack (collared Wesley-AM1051, Ernesta-AF1126 and mp1350)
On October 18, the IFT captured and AM1051 in the Gila Wilderness. The wolf was released on site. On October 19, the IFT captured and collared mp1350. The wolf pup was released on site. The Coronado Pack continues to remain within the Gila Wilderness.
Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923 and M1293)
Throughout October, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF. The IFT monitored the Dark Canyon pack closely in October for opportunities to collar pups; however, no capture operations were conducted.
Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212, m1345 and mp1384)
During October, the IFT documented the Fox Mountain Pack within its traditional territory in the northwest portion of the GNF. A food cache has been maintained for the Fox Mountain Pack this month in an effort to prevent livestock depredations.
Lava Pack (collared Hunt-M1282 and Lupita-F1295)
During October, the Lava Pack has remained separate from each other. Through early-October, Hunt-M1282 has been located with its natal pack, the San Mateo Pack. Lupita-F1295 has been located with, or in close proximity to, single Gunnolf-M1285 in the Gila Wilderness throughout October.
Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, Sprocket-m1337, and M1284)
In October, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT has maintained a food cache for the Luna Pack in an effort to prevent livestock depredations.
Prieto Pack (collared AM1387, AF1251 and mp1386)
Throughout October, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. A food cache has been maintained for the Prieto Pack in an effort to prevent livestock depredations.
Mangas Pack (collared AM1296)
In October, the Mangas Pack utilized the area in the northeastern portion of the GNF.
San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157, AF903 and Hunt-M1282)
During October AM1157 was located dead in New Mexico. The incident is under investigation. Hunt-M1282 has not been located during the second half of October. On October 30, M1345 originally from the Fox Mountain Pack was located traveling with AF903.
Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, Poco-m1338, mp1385, mp1390 and m1391)
On October 20, the IFT captured and an uncollared female pup from the Willow Springs Pack. The pup was collared, designated fp1390 and released on site. On October 21, the IFT captured and collared a male subadult from the Willow Springs Pack. The wolf was collared, designated m1391 and released on site. Willow Springs Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.
Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240 and Acalia-AF1278)
In October, 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.
In October, a wolf believed to be M1254 was recovered dead in New Mexico. The incident is under investigation.
Throughout October, Krypto-M1284 was located with its natal pack, the Luna Pack, in the north-central portion of the GNF.
In October, Gunnolf-M1285 was located with Lupita-F1295, from the Lava Pack, within the Gila Wilderness.
Falon-M1286 was not located for three consecutive months; the IFT now considers Falon-M1286 fate unknown.
Unique-f1332 has remained in Arizona and has traveled the south central portion of the ASNF. The IFT has documented this wolf traveling alone.
In October, AM1157 from the San Mateo Pack was located dead in New Mexico. The incident is under investigation.
In October, a wolf believed to be M1254 was recovered dead in New Mexico. The incident is under investigation.
During October there were four livestock depredation reports and no nuisance reports in the BRWRA.
On October 2, Wildlife Services investigated one dead cow in New Mexico. The investigation determined the cow was a probable wolf kill incident.
On October 6, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Long Canyon in Arizona. The investigation determined the cow died of unknown causes.
On October 8, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow on the FAIR in Arizona. The investigation determined the cow died from unknown causes.
On October 27, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Sometime Creek in New Mexico. The investigation determined the cow died of unknown causes.
The Sevilleta Captive Management Facility remains empty due to ongoing facility maintenance.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION
On October 15, a member of the IFT gave a project update to the Arizona Game and Fish Nongame Branch meeting at Horseshoe Ranch.
Between October 17 and 19 a photographer from Arizona Highways magazine toured the BRWRA to prepare for an upcoming magazine article.
On October 21, the Middle Management Team (MMT) met at the Springerville Forest Service office to discuss current project issues and to discuss future 10j rule changes.
On October 31, the IFT met to coordinate the January 2015 helicopter survey.
On October 6, Justin Martens began his position as a wildlife biologist for the USFWS. Welcome to the project Justin.
On October 10, Allison Greenleaf, a former AZGFD biologist with the project, began her position as a wildlife biologist for the USFWS.
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.