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Monthly Status Report: November 1-30, 2018 - Arizona Game and Fish Department

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Endangered Species Updates
December 12, 2018


Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
November 1-30, 2018

The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Recovery Program 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 program 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. For information on the FAIR call (928) 338-4385 ext. 226 or visit www.wmatoutdoors.org. Past updates may be viewed on these websites. Interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting www.azgfd.com and clicking on the E-news Signup tab on the top left corner of the webpage. This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose.  The Mexican Wolf Recovery Program is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), 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 location information please visit http://arcg.is/0iGSGH.

Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: the Alpine wolf office at (928) 339-4329, Pinetop wolf office at (928) 532-2391 or toll free at (888) 459-9653. For sightings or suspected depredations on the FAIR, please call the FAIR wolf office in Whiteriver at (928) 388-4385 ext. 226. To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AZGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.


Overall Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update

On November 30, USFWS personnel attended the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Commission meeting to discuss the 2019 Initial Release and Translocation Plan, during which the Commission approved cross-fostering as outlined in the plan.

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) are used to indicate wolves younger than 24 months.  A lower-case letter "p" preceding the number is used to indicate a wolf pup born in the most recent spring. 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 contest,2015 contest2016 contest,  and 2017 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 update denote wolves with functioning radio collars. 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

The year-end minimum population count for 2017 was 114 wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.  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 pup mortality generally occurs in this period).  Thus, the IFT summarizes the total number of wolves in the winter at a fairly static or consistent time of year.  Counting the population at the end of each year allows for comparable year-to-year trends at a time of year when the Mexican wolf population is most stable.  At the end of November, there were 80 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring.  Not all of the wolves in the population are collared.



IN ARIZONA:

Bear Wallow Pack (collared Poco-AM1338 and Denali-f1683)
In November, the IFT documented the Bear Wallow Pack in their territory on the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF) and occasionally on the SCAR and the FAIR. Yearling f1683 and AM1338 were documented traveling separately.

Bluestem Pack (collared Crescita-f1686)
In November, the IFT documented yearling f1686 in the pack’s traditional territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.  Yearling f1686 made dispersal movements from the pack’s territory within the eastern portion of the ASNF.

Eagle Creek Pack (collared M1477)
In November, M1477 continued to be documented traveling with an uncollared wolf in a territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, Koa-f1668, Volver-m1671, mp1695, fp1696, and fp1697)
In November, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.  A male pup, 1695, was captured, collared, and released in November.  The IFT started a diversionary food cache to reduce the potential for human-wildlife interactions near residences.  The IFT conducted hazing efforts on the Elk Horn Pack on two occasions when the pack was observed within the community of Alpine.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-AM1290, Verde-AF1333, Severus-m1666, Memphis-m1677, Suess-m1681, and mp1789)
In November, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.  Yearlings, m1677 and m1681 and mp1789 were documented travelling separate from the rest of the pack in the east central part of the ANSF during a portion of the month.

Panther Creek Pack (collared Fuerza-AM1382)
Panther Creek AM1382 was not located during the month of November.

Pine Spring Pack (collared AM-1394, Atira-AF1562, fp1794, and fp1825)
In November, the Pine Spring Pack was located within their territory in the north central portion of the ASNF and occasionally in the north eastern portion of the FAIR.  The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache for this pack to reduce potential for wolf-livestock conflict.

Prime Canyon Pack (collared Faith-AF1488, Blaze-AM1471, mp1790, fp1791, and fp1823)
In November, the IFT documented the Prime Canyon Pack within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.  The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache for this pack to reduce the potential for human-wildlife interactions near residences.

Saffel Pack (collared Kiko-AM1441, Lupin-AF1567, Domingo-m1661,  Carl-m1680, and fp1792)
In November, the Saffel Pack was located in their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.  Yearling m1680 continued dispersal movements in New Mexico and was found dead in New Mexico in November.  The incident is under investigation.   Yearling m1661 made dispersal movements from the pack’s territory in the south central portion of the ANSF in late November.

Sierra Blanca Pack (collared Rio Espiritu-M1571 and Moon Beam-F1550)
In November, the Sierra Blanca Pack was located in their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared – Isra-F1489
In November, the IFT documented F1489 traveling in the north and east central portion of the ASNF.

Single collared – Windy-M1574
In November, the IFT documented M1574 traveling in the east central portion of the ASNF, the SCAR, and the eastern portion of the FAIR.


ON THE FAIR:

Baldy Pack (collared Essential-AM1347, Spirit-F1560, and Ramses-mp1672)
In November, the Baldy Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR and the north central portion of the ASNF.  Yearling m1672 was not documented in November and is now considered fate unknown.

Maverick Pack (collared Sandy-AF1291 and fp1828)
In November, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory on the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared Ma'iitosoh-AF1283, and Journey-f1674)
In November, the Tsay-O-Ah Pack was located within their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR.  They were occasionally documented traveling in the east central portion of the ASNF.

Tu dil hil Pack (collared Aleu-M1559 and Luna Sombra-F1679)
In November, the Tu dil hil Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR.  M1559 was documented traveling with the Tsay-O-Ah Pack.

Single collared M1824
In November, M1824 was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR and the north central and north eastern portions of the ASNF.


IN NEW MEXICO:

Copper Creek (collared Stella-F1444)
During November, F1444, the only wolf with a functioning collar in the Copper Creek Pack, was documented making wide dispersal movements outside the pack’s traditional range.

Dark Canyon (collared Artemis-AF1456 and Bravery-M1354)
During November, the Dark Canyon Pack was documented traveling together within their traditional territory, in the west central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF).

Datil Mountain Pack (collared Bosque-M1453 and Matsi-F1685)
During November, the Datil Mountain Pack continued to travel in the western portion of the Cibola National Forest (CNF).

Frieborn Pack (collared AF1443, Mago-AM1447, and fp1702)
During November, the Frieborn Pack was documented within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF in New Mexico and Arizona.  The IFT maintained a food cache to support cross-fostered pups and to reduce the potential for wolf-livestock conflict.  In November, AM1447 was located dead in New Mexico.  The incident is under investigation.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038 and Dajanae-F1473)
During November, the Hawks Nest Pack was documented traveling together in the Hawks Nest territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  In November, AM1038 was located dead in New Mexico.  The incident is under investigation.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, Acalia-AF1278, Zeus-m1555, Fortitudo-m1556, Prases-f1670, Avlavis-m1821, fp1721, and mp1710)
During November, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF.  The IFT maintained a food cache to support cross-fostered pups and to reduce the potential for wolf-livestock conflict.

Lava Pack (collared Gunnolf-AM1285 and AF1405)
During November, the Lava Pack was located within their traditional territory in the southeastern portion of the GNF.

Leopold Pack (collared AM1293 and Cancion-AF1346)
During November, the IFT documented the Leopold Pack within their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness.

Luna Pack (collared AM1158, AF1487, and Shanna-f1684)
During November, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache for the Luna Pack to reduce potential for conflict with livestock.  In November, a private trapper in New Mexico caught f1684 and contacted the IFT.  The IFT responded, replaced the wolf’s collar, and then released f1684 on GNF.[O1]

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, Wuna-AF1439, and Okami- f1705)
During November, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in the northwestern portion of the GNF.  The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache for the Mangas Pack to reduce potential for conflict with livestock.

Prieto Pack (collared AF1251, Adero-AM1398, Peaceful-F1565,   Zauber-m1669, Aztec-m1678, fp1826, and mp1827)
During November, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache for the Prieto Pack to reduce potential for conflict with livestock.  In November, fp1826 was located dead in New Mexico.  The incident is under investigation.

San Mateo Pack (collared Survivor-AF1399, Connie-f1578, and fp1822)
During November, the San Mateo Pack continued to utilize their territory in the north central portion of the GNF.

Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared Selene-AF1553)
During November, AF1553 continued to use the traditional territory of the SBP pack in the north central portion of the GNF.

Squirrel Springs Pack (collared F1788)
During November, the Squirrel Springs pack was located in the north central portion of the GNF.  The IFT continued efforts in November to maintain a consistent presence in the pack's territory, as well as haze the pack away from livestock to decrease conflict due to a confirmed depredation in October.

Single collared Da-Kari-M1486
During November, M1486 was located dead in New Mexico.  The incident is currently under investigation.

Single collared Arkanes-M1673
During November, M1673 continued to travel in the western portion of the GNF.


MORTALITIES

During the month of November, the following wolves were located dead in New Mexico: AM1447 of the Frieborn Pack, fp1826 of the Prieto Pack, AM1038 of the Hawks Nest Pack, m1680 of the Saffel Pack, and Single M1486.  All of the incidents are currently under investigation by USFWS Law Enforcement.

From January 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018 there have been a total of 17 documented wolf mortalities.


INCIDENTS

During  the month of November, there were six confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock.  There were two nuisance incidents in November.  From January 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018 there have been a total of 66 confirmed wolf depredation incidents in New Mexico and 31 confirmed wolf depredation incidents in Arizona.

On November 14, Wildlife Services investigated two dead calves in Catron County, NM.  The investigation determined one calf was a confirmed wolf kill and the other calf died of unknown causes.

On November 16, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ.  The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On November 17, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM.  The investigation confirmed the cow was killed by wolves.

On November 17, Wildlife Services investigated a dead goat in Catron County, NM.  The investigation determined the goat was killed by a domestic dog.

On November 17, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM.  The investigated confirmed the calf was killed by wolves.

One November 20, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM.  The investigation confirmed the calf was killed by wolves.

On November 21, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ.  The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On November 24 and 25, Wildlife Services hazed the Elk Horn Pack after locating the wolves in an open pasture in Alpine, AZ near residences.


COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On November 15, USFS personnel provided a poster presentation at the Second International Wildlife Reintroduction Conference.  The conference was attended by approximately 150 people.


PROJECT PERSONNEL

There were no personnel updates for the project during the month of November.


REWARDS OFFERED

The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AZGFD 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.