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Monthly Status Report: November 1-30, 2019 - Arizona Game and Fish Department - December 13, 2019

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Endangered Species Updates
December 13, 2019


Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update
November 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 Nov. 6, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Mexican Wolf Recovery and Management as a Lead Agency. In accordance with the MOU, Lead Agencies have regulatory jurisdiction and management authority over Mexican wolves, and/or regulatory jurisdiction and management over the lands that Mexican wolves occupy in Arizona and New Mexico, and/or expertise in resolving conflicts between humans and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species. Lead Agencies include those Native American Tribes, Pueblos, and Nations that are managing for the recovery of Mexican wolves.

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. Population counts for 2019 are currently underway. 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 29 identified wolf packs (13 in AZ and 16 in NM) and nine single collared wolves. There were 91 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 November, the IFT documented M1477 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, Flow-f1696, Rapido-f1697, and Kapok-m1698)
In November, the Elk Horn Pack was located within its traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF in Arizona and New Mexico.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-AM1290, Verde-AF1333, Suess-M1681, Daos-F1830, Shaman-m1789, fp1938, and fp1843)
In November, the Hoodoo Pack was located within its traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.

Panther Creek Pack (Fuerza-AM1382, Denali-AF1683, and fp1939)
In November, the IFT documented the Panther Creek Pack in their territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF.

Prime Canyon Pack (collared Blaze-AM1471, Faith-AF1488, Everado-m1790, Genevieve-f1791, Asiza-f1823, fp1916, fp1919, fp1920, and mp1921)
In November, the IFT documented the Prime Canyon Pack within its territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT captured, collared and released the following pups from the Prime Canyon Pack during routine collaring efforts: fp1916, fp1920 and mp1921. The IFT initiated opportunistic hazing efforts of Prime Canyon during the month of November in response to documented nighttime locations of the pack in the community of Alpine. No nuisance incidents involving the Prime Canon Pack were reported or investigated during November. The IFT maintained a food cache to reduce the potential for conflict.

Rocky Prairie Pack (collared Isra-F1489)
I In November, the IFT documented the Rocky Prairie Pack in the east-central portion of the ASNF.

Saffel Pack (collared Kiko-AM1441, Lupin-AF1567, and Yuma-f1833)
In November, the Saffel Pack was located within their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. AM1441 was captured, recollared and transported to captivity to be held temporarily while being provided veterinary care for an injury sustained during capture.

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

Single collared Fe-f1794
In November, f1794, a disperser from Pine Spring, was not located in its original territory in the northern portion of the ASNF. The wolf has not been located since mid-September.

Single collared Fuerte-f1825
In November, the IFT documented f1825, a disperser from Pine Spring, traveling with an uncollared wolf in the northern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared Crescita-F1686
In November, the IFT documented F1686 traveling in the east-central portion of the ASNF.

Single collared Paprika-f1792
In November, f1792 was documented traveling with an uncollared wolf in the northern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared Koa-F1668
In November, F1668 was documented making wide dispersal movements in the Gila National Forest (GNF) in New Mexico and in the east-central portion of the ASNF in Arizona.

Single collared F1959
In November, F1959 was documented in the east-central portion of the ASNF.


ON THE FAIR:

Baldy Pack (collared Essential-AM1347 and Spirit-F1560)
In November, the Baldy Pack was located in its 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 November, the Maverick Pack was located within its traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and east-central portion of the ASNF.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared Aleu-M1559 and Ma'iitosoh-AF1283)
In November, the Tsay-O-Ah Pack was located within its 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, Poco-AM1338, and fp1841)
In November, the Tu dil hil Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR. A female pup, fp1841, was captured on the FAIR, collared and released.

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


IN NEW MEXICO:

Cimmaron Mesa Pack (collared Okami-F1705)
In November, the Cimmaron Mesa Pack was documented traveling in the northwestern portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF).

Colibri Pack (collared AM1555)
In November, the Colibri Pack was documented traveling together within a territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF.

Dark Canyon (collared Bravery-AM1354, Artemis-AF1456, and Dumbledore-m1717)
In November, the Dark Canyon Pack was documented traveling together within their traditional territory, in the west-central portion of the GNF.

Datil Mountain Pack (collared Matsi-F1685)
In November, F1685 was documented traveling with an uncollared wolf in the east-central portion of the ASNF in New Mexico and Arizona.

Frieborn Pack (collared AF1443, Terra-f1701, Athena-f1702, and fp1921)
In November, the Frieborn Pack was documented within its territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF in New Mexico and Arizona.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, Acalia-AF1278, Avlavis-M1821, Artimis-f1721, Cazador-m1710, and Isra-f1712)
In November, the Iron Creek Pack continued to use its territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF.

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

Leon Pack (Collared M1824 and Connie-F1578)
In November, the Leon Pack was documented within the northwestern portion of the GNF in New Mexico.

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

Luna Pack (collared AM1158, AF1487, Destello-m1831, and Lucero-m1838)
In November, the Luna Pack remained in its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.[O1]

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, Wuna-AF1439, Filtiarn-M1832, mp1839, fp1840, and mp1842)
In November, the Mangas Pack was located within its 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.

Prieto Pack (collared AF1251 and mp1845)
In November, the Prieto Pack was located within its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  In November, a member of the public reported capturing two wolves in foothold traps. The IFT responded immediately, processed, collared and temporarily removed from the wild mp1845 for veterinary care. The IFT determined a second wolf had been captured and was traveling with a trap still attached to its foot. At the time of this publication, the IFT has documented the second wolf is traveling with the pack and the trap is no longer attached to its foot. This incident remains under investigation. The IFT established and maintained a diversionary food cache to reduce potential wolf-livestock.

San Mateo Pack (collared Survivor-AF1399, Obol-f1822, and mp1953)
In November, the San Mateo Pack continued to utilize its territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.

Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared Selene-AF1553 and fp1837)
In November, the SBP Pack was located within its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.

Squirrel Springs Pack (collared F1788 and Pecos-M1349)
In November, the Squirrel Springs Pack was located in the north-central portion of the GNF.

Whitewater Canyon Pack (Shanna-F1684)
In November, the Whitewater Canyon Pack was not located by the IFT.

Single collared M1829
In November, M1829 was documented traveling in the north-central portion of the GNF

Single collared Grenville-m1693
In November, M1693 was documented in portions of the north-central GNF in New Mexico.

Single collared Janus-f1836
In November, f1836 was located traveling alone in the south-central portion of the GNF.


REMOVED TO CAPTIVITY (our addition)

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

Maximus-m1695 from the Elk Horn Pack - removed to captivity due to repetitive confirmed depredations on livestock in September 2019.

AM1394 from the Pine Spring Pack - removed to captivity due to repetitive confirmed depredations on livestock in September 2019.


MORTALITIES

In November, an uncollared wolf was found dead in New Mexico. The incident is under investigation. The IFT is waiting for genetic analysis to determine what pack the animal was from and to assign as studbook number. There have been a total of 11 documented wolf mortalities from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, 2019.


INCIDENTS

During the month of November, there were four confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock and one confirmed wolf caused injury to a calf. There was one nuisance incident investigated in November. From Jan. 1 to Nov.  30, 2019, there have been a total of 122 confirmed wolf depredation incidents and 10 probable wolf depredations in New Mexico; and a total of 54 confirmed wolf depredation incidents and one probable wolf depredation in Arizona.

On Nov. 3, the IFT took a report of two wolves observed near an unoccupied camp on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in the Crow Poison area. The IFT responded and determined the reporting party was returning to their camp when they observed two wolves near a deer carcass that was hanging in camp. The wolves immediately retreated out of sight when the reporting party approached in their vehicle. The IFT located a signal from M1829 nearby.  No further sightings or interactions were reported.

On Nov. 4, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On Nov. 4, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation concluded the cause of death was unknown.

On Nov. 6, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation concluded the cause of death was unknown.

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

On Nov. 16, Wildlife Services investigated an injured calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf’s injuries were caused by a wolf.

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

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


COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

Throughout the month of November, the USFS Wolf Liaison to the IFT coordinated with the Alpine, Springerville, Quemado and Reserve Ranger Districts to mitigate wolf-livestock conflicts. More than 55 livestock permittees were contacted via phone, email or text to communicate general wolf locations or other wolf-related issues to try and reduce wolf-livestock conflicts.

In November, the IFT implemented the following proactive efforts to reduce livestock depredations: initiated 12 hazing events on wolves, maintained three diversionary food caches, conducted one carcass removal to avoid further attractant of wolves to an area of existing wolf-livestock conflict and conducted frequent contacts with livestock producers with the goal of reducing potential for wolf-livestock conflict.


PROJECT PERSONNEL

Two volunteers left the Program at the end of November, thanks to you and all the volunteers for your help and dedication to Mexican Wolf Recovery!


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.