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Monthly Status Report: April 1-30, 2019 - Arizona Game and Fish Department

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Endangered Species Updates
May 17, 2019


Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update
April 1-30, 2019


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 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 azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf. For information on the FAIR call (928) 338-4385 ext. 226 or visit wmatoutdoors.org.

Past updates may be viewed on these websites. Interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting 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 March 30, 2019, a court ruling from the District Court of Arizona regarding several alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedures Act of the 2017 Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision, were denied while the court accepted one element for review; therefore, USFWS will provide an administrative record to the court for further review of the basis for the recovery plan’s criteria and actions.

USFWS staff presented Mexican wolf updates and future recovery recommendations at the Canada/Mexico/U.S. Trilateral Committee meeting in Victoria, British Columbia from April 8 through 12. Also participating were representatives from the Arizona and New Mexico Game and Fish Departments.

On April 17, the 25-month timeline to revise the 10(j) rule for the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area was initiated by the District Court of Arizona, resulting in a deadline of May 1, 2021 for the revised final 10(j) rule.  The 2015 10(j) rule will stay in effect until the new revision is finalized.

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 contest2017 contest, and 2018 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 end of year census for 2018 was a minimum of 131 Mexican wolves in the wild (64 in AZ and 67 in NM). This was about a 12% increase in the population from a minimum of 117 wolves counted at the end of 2017. 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 April, there were 27 identified wolf packs (13 in AZ and 14 in NM) and three single collared wolves. There were 80 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring. Not all of the wolves are collared. Studbook numbers following individual pack names below denote wolves with functioning radio collars.


IN ARIZONA:

Eagle Creek Pack (collared Canyon-M1477)
In April, the IFT continued to document M1477 traveling with an uncollared wolf in the pack’s territory in the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF).

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, Koa-F1668, Volver-M1671, Maximus-m1695, Flow-f1696, and Rapido-f1697)
In April, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF in Arizona and New Mexico. A male yearling, m1693, was captured by Wildlife Services in New Mexico and transported to captivity for veterinary care. Yearling m1693, was cross-fostered as a neonatal pup from captivity into the Elk Horn Pack in 2018.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-AM1290, Verde-AF1333, Suess-M1681, Daos-F1830, and Shaman-m1789)
In April, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. The Hoodoo Pack was hazed by the IFT on one occasion during the month of April to mitigate wolf-livestock conflict. This month, three neonatal pups, born in captivity at the Mesker Park Zoo, were cross-fostered by the IFT into the Hoodoo Pack den. One wild born pup was removed to reduce the Hoodoo Pack litter number and subsequently cross-fostered into the Panther Creek Pack den. The IFT maintained a food cache near the den as part of the cross-foster effort and to reduce the potential for livestock-related conflict.  The Hoodoo Pack continued to exhibit behavior and movements consistent with denning after the cross-foster operation was conducted.

Panther Creek Pack (Fuerza-AM1382 and Denali-AF1683)
In April, AM1382 and AF1683 were documented traveling together in the east central portion of the ASNF and are now considered Panther Creek Pack. This month the IFT cross-fostered one wild-born neonatal pup taken from the Hoodoo Pack into the Panther Creek den subsequent to a cross-foster event of genetically valuable pups from captivity into the Hoodoo Pack den. The IFT initiated a supplemental food cache near the den as part of the cross-foster effort. The Panther Creek Pack continued to exhibit behavior and movements consistent with denning after the cross-foster operation was conducted.

Pine Spring Pack (collared AM-1394, Fe-f1794, and Fuerte-f1825)
In April, the Pine Spring Pack was located within their territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. 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, Everado-m1790, Genevieve-f1791, and Asiza-f1823)
In April, the IFT documented the Prime Canyon Pack within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. In April, the IFT cross-fostered one neonatal pup, born in captivity at the Endangered Wolf Center into the Prime Canyon den. The IFT initiated a supplemental food cache near the den as part of the cross-foster effort and to reduce the potential for conflict. The Prime Canyon Pack continued to exhibit behavior and movements consistent with denning after the cross-foster operation was conducted.

Rocky Prairie Pack (collared Isra-F1489)
In April, the IFT documented F1489 in the east central portion of the ASNF. The Rocky Prairie Pack began to exhibit behavior consistent with denning at the end of April.

Saffel Pack (collared Kiko-AM1441, Lupin-AF1567, Paprika-f1792, and Yuma-f1833)
In April, the Saffel Pack was located within their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. The Saffel Pack exhibited behavior consistent with denning at the end of April.

Sierra Blanca Pack (collared Rio Espiritu-M1571 and Moon Beam-F1550)
In April, the Sierra Blanca Pack was located in their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. The Sierra Blanca Pack exhibited behavior consistent with denning in April.

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

Single collared – Crescita-F1686
In April, the IFT documented subadult F1686 continuing to make dispersal movements within the north central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF) in New Mexico and the eastern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared M1829
In April, M1829 was documented making wide dispersal movements in the GNF and in the east central portion of the ASNF.


ON THE FAIR:

Baldy Pack (collared Essential-AM1347 and Spirit-F1560)
In April, the Baldy Pack was located in their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and north central portion of the ASNF.

Maverick Pack (collared Sandy-AF1291 and Llave-f1828)
In April, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF. Maverick Pack showed behavior consistent with denning in April.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared Aleu-M1559 and Ma'iitosoh-AF1283)
In April, the Tsay-O-Ah Pack was located within their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and occasionally documented north of their territory on the FAIR.

Tu dil hil Pack (collared Luna Sombra-F1679 and Poco-AM1338)
In April, the Tu dil hil Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR. Tu dil hil Pack showed behavior consistent with denning in April.

Poker Pack (collared Journey-F1674)
In April, the Poker Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR and the SCAR.


IN NEW MEXICO:

Copper Creek (collared Stella-F1444)
During April, F1444 was captured by a private trapper.  The IFT was notified and subsequently removed the wolf to captivity due to livestock depredations.  F1444 was the only remaining wolf in the Copper Creek Pack, which is now considered defunct.  F1444 subsequently died in captivity.

Dark Canyon (collared Artemis-AF1456, Bravery-M1354, and Dumbledore-m1717)
During April, the Dark Canyon Pack was documented traveling together within their traditional territory, in the west central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF). The Dark Canyon Pack showed behavior consistent with denning in April.

Datil Mountain Pack (collared Matsi-F1685)
During April, the Datil Mountain Pack traveled within their traditional territory in the western portion of the Cibola National Forest (CNF).

Frieborn Pack (collared AF1443, Terra-f1701, and Athena-f1702)
During April, the Frieborn Pack was documented within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF in New Mexico and Arizona. This month, five neonatal pups born in captivity at the Endangered Wolf Center were cross-fostered by the IFT into the Frieborn Pack den. Three wild pups were transported back to captivity. The IFT initiated a supplemental food cache near the den as part of the cross-foster effort and to reduce the potential for livestock-related conflict. The Frieborn Pack exhibited behavior and movements consistent with denning after the cross-foster operation was conducted. A female subadult, f1701, was captured, collared, and released in April.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, Acalia-AF1278, Zeus-M1555, Prases-F1670, Avlavis-M1821, Artimis-f1721, Cazador-m1710, and Isra-f1712)
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 GNF. The Iron Creek Pack showed behavior consistent with denning in April.

Lava Pack (collared Gunnolf-AM1285, AF1405, and Geronimo-m1715)
During April, the Lava Pack was located within their traditional territory in the southeastern portion of the GNF.  The Lava Pack showed behavior consistent with denning in April.

Leon Pack (Collared M1824 and F1578)
In April, the Leon pack was documented within the northwestern portion of the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.

Leopold Pack (collared AM1293 and Cancion-AF1346)
During April, the IFT documented the Leopold Pack within their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness. The Leopold Pack exhibited behavior consistent with denning in April.

Luna Pack (collared AM1158, AF1487, and Destello-m1831)
During April, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  The Luna Pack showed behavior consistent with denning in April.[O1]

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, Wuna-AF1439, Okami- F1705, and Filtiarn-M1832)
During April, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in the northwestern portion of the GNF. The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache for the Mangas Pack to reduce potential conflict with livestock. The Mangas Pack showed behavior consistent with denning in April.

Prieto Pack (collared AF1251 and Adero-AM1398)
During April, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache for the Prieto Pack to reduce potential for conflict with livestock in April.

San Mateo Pack (collared Survivor-AF1399, Obol-f1822, and Lupa-f1834)
During April, the San Mateo Pack continued to utilize their territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  In mid-April, f1834 slipped free of its radio collar. The San Mateo Pack showed behavior consistent with denning in April.

Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared Selene-AF1553)
During April, AF1553 was confirmed traveling in the traditional territory of the SBP Pack in the north central portion of the GNF.

Squirrel Springs Pack (collared F1788 and Pecos-M1349)
During April, the Squirrel Springs Pack was located in the north central portion of the GNF. The Squirrel Springs Pack showed behavior consistent with denning in April.

Whitewater Canyon Pack (Shanna-F1684 and Nelson-m1827)
During April F1684 and m1827 (formerly of the Prieto Pack) continued to be documented traveling together in the north central portion of the GNF and are now considered the Whitewater Canyon Pack


REMOVED AND PLACED IN CAPTIVITY (our addition):

Nakawé-f1835 from Prieto Pack - Captured and removed to captivity as part of a management order in March 2019.
Janus-f1836 from Prieto Pack - Captured and removed to captivity as part of a management order in March 2019.


MORTALITIES

There were no documented mortalities during the month of April. From January 1, 2019 to April 30, 2019, there have been a total of six documented wolf mortalities.
Our Note:  There was one mortality in April.  Per the report on the Copper Creek Pack above:

Copper Creek (collared Stella-F1444)
During April, F1444 was captured by a private trapper.  The IFT was notified and subsequently removed the wolf to captivity due to livestock depredations.  F1444.  F1444 subsequently died in captivity.



INCIDENTS

During the month of April, there were 37 confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock.  From January 1, 2019 to April 30, 2019 there have been a total of 77 confirmed and five probable wolf depredation incidents in New Mexico and 11 confirmed depredation incidents in Arizona.
On April 3, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 5, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 5, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows and two dead calves in Catron County, NM. The investigations determined all four were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 6, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 6, Wildlife Services investigated a dead bull and two dead cows in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the all three were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 8, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined that both cows were confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 8, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Greenlee County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 9, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 10, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 12, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined both cows were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 14, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Greenlee County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 14, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 15, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 15, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow and a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined both were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 16, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows and three dead calves in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined both cows and all three calves were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 18, Wildlife Services investigated two dead calves in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined both calves were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 19, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 20, Wildlife Services investigated two dead calves in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined both calves were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead yearling bull in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the yearling bull was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 24, Wildlife Services investigated a dead bull in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the bull was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 24, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined calf was a probable wolf depredation.

On April 26, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 27, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a probable wolf depredation.

On April 28, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 30, Wildlife Services investigated a dead yearling bull in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the yearling bull was a confirmed wolf depredation.


COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On April 2, IFT staff attended a livestock grazing workshop in Alpine, Arizona, hosted by Defenders of Wildlife.

On April 17, IFT staff attended a ranching workshop hosted by the X Diamond Ranch in Arizona and provided a Mexican Wolf Recovery Program update.

On April 26, WMAT staff hosted an educational booth in coordination with the Tribal Environmental Protection Office, for Earth Day.


PROJECT PERSONNEL

Tracy Melbihess was re-hired by the USFWS as the Classification, Recovery, and Litigation Coordinator for the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program from her position as a Conservation and Consultation Branch Chief at the Idaho Ecological Services Field Office.


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.