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Monthly Status Report: June 1-30, 2020 - Arizona Game and Fish Department

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Endangered Species Updates
July 17, 2020


Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update
June 1-30, 2020


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 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 wmatoutdoor.org.

Past updates may be viewed at 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), New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. National Park Service (NPS).

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 (928) 339-4329, Pinetop wolf office (928) 532-2391 or toll free at (888) 459-9653. For sightings or suspected depredations on the FAIR, please call the WMAT wolf office in Whiteriver at (928) 338-4385 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

The Mexican wolf 10(j) revision NEPA scoping closed on June 15, 2020. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received 87,000 public comments. The Service will work with Cooperating Agencies on the development of a draft supplemental EIS (DsEIS) to analyze proposed revisions to the 10(j) rule. The proposed revised rule and DsEIS will be available for public comment during the fall/winter of 2020.

The Eastern Arizona Counties Organization provided $35,000 to the Arizona Game and Fish Department's (AZGFD) range rider program. This will support a range rider that will work directly for the AZGFD Interagency Field Team Leader, who will direct the range rider to areas with high wolf depredation to assist with ongoing conflict reduction management actions with the goal of reducing wolf depredations on livestock in Arizona.

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 lowercase 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 contest2018 contest, and 2019 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 or is kicked out of the pack and replaced by another wolf, 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

The end-of-year census for 2019 was a minimum of 163 Mexican wolves in the wild (76 in AZ and 87 in NM). This was a 24% increase in the population from a minimum of 131 wolves counted at the end of 2018. 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 June, there were 39 named wolf packs (18 in AZ and 21 in NM) and 5 single collared wolves. There were 91 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring. Not all of the wolves in the population are collared. Studbook numbers following individual pack names below denote wolves with functioning radio collars.

IN ARIZONA:

Bear Canyon (collared Max-m1911 and Asiza-F1823)
In June, the Bear Canyon Pack continued to be documented travelling in the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF) in Arizona and New Mexico. The Bear Canyon Pack no longer showed behavior consistent with denning during the month of June. The IFT continued hazing efforts in response to intermittent pack locations in the community of Alpine.

Castle Rock Pack (Crescita-F1686)
In June, the Castle Rock Pack was documented in the east central portion of the ASNF. The Castle Rock Pack continued to exhibit behavior and movements consistent with pup rearing.

Cerro Trigo Pack (collared Fuerte-F1825 and M2555)
In June, the Cerro Trigo Pack was located in their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. The pack continued to show behavior consistent with pup rearing. In June the IFT captured, collared and released M2555 of the Cerro Trigo Pack. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache in the Cerro Trigo territory in an effort to reduce the potential for livestock-related conflict.

Eagle Creek Pack (collared Canyon-M1477)
In June, the IFT documented M1477 in the pack’s territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, Flow-F1696, and Kapok-M1698)
In June, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF in Arizona and New Mexico. The pack continued to exhibit behavior and movements consistent with pup rearing. The IFT maintained a food cache near the den as part of a cross-foster into the pack in April and to reduce the potential for livestock-related conflict.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-AM1290, Verde-AF1333, Daos-F1830, Shaman-M1789, Andy-f1938, and Akimi-f1936)
In June, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. The Hoodoo Pack continued to exhibit behavior and movements consistent with pup rearing. The IFT maintained a food cache near the den as part of a cross-foster into the pack in April and to reduce the potential for livestock-related conflict.


Noble Mountain Pack (Rio Espiritu-AM1571 and Rapido-F1697)
In June, AM1571 (formerly of the Sierra Blanca Pack) and F1697 continued to be documented traveling together in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. The pair has been named the Noble Mountain Pack. The IFT continued hazing efforts in the community of Alpine in response to several locations of the pack in the community of Alpine.

Panther Creek Pack (Fuerza-AM1382, Denali-AF1683, and Faith-f1939)
In June, the IFT documented the Panther Creek Pack in their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. Subadult f1939 continued to be documented making dispersal movements across the east central portion of the ASNF, returning to its natal territory. The pack continued to show behavior consistent with pup rearing.

Prime Canyon Pack (collared Blaze-AM1471, Faith-AF1488, Genevieve-F1791, Lichen Veil-f1916, Light-f1918, Shakarri-f1919, Valhalla-f1920, and Ace-m1921)
In June, the IFT documented the Prime Canyon Pack within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. The Prime Canyon Pack continued to exhibit behavior and movements consistent with pup rearing. The IFT continued hazing efforts in the community of Alpine and continued to maintain a food cache as part of a cross-foster into the pack in April and to reduce pack locations in the community of Alpine.

Rocky Prairie Pack (collared AM1383 and Isra-AF1489)
In June, the IFT documented the Rocky Prairie Pack in their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. The Rocky Prairie Pack continued to exhibit behavior and movements consistent with pup rearing. The IFT maintained a food cache near the den as part of a cross-foster into the pack in May.

Rose Springs Pack (Juniper-M1704)
In June, the IFT documented M1704 in the east central portion of the ASNF and on the SCAR.

Saffell Pack (Lupin-AF1567, Nyika-f1844, Sombra-f1851, Moonstreak-m1852, and Prints-m1854)
In June, the Saffel Pack was located within their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.

Sierra Blanca Pack (collared Moon Beam-AF1550)
In June, AF1550 was located travelling within its territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared Rapido-f1697
In May, F1697 was documented travelling with AM1571 of the Sierra Blanca Pack in the east central portion of the ASNF.

Single collared Kiko-AM1441
In June, AM1441 was lethally removed by Wildlife Services due to repetitive confirmed depredations on livestock.


ON THE FAIR:

Baldy Pack (collared Essential-AM1347 and Spirit-F1560)
In June, 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)
In June, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF. Additionally, AF1291 was documented making wide dispersals on the FAIR and the eastern portion of the ASNF.

Poker Pack (collared Remus-AM1582)
In June, the Poker Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR and SCAR.

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

Tu dil hil Pack (collared Poco-AM1338, Luna Sombra-AF1679, and Huhawira-f1841)
In June, the Tu dil hil Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR.

Single collared Llave-F1828
In June, F1828 was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF.


IN NEW MEXICO:

Cimmaron Mesa Pack (collared Okami-F1705)
In June, the Cimmaron Mesa Pack was documented traveling in the northwestern portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF). The Cimmaron Mesa Pack no longer displayed behavior consistent with denning.

Colibri Pack (collared AM1555 and Gus-m1856)
In June, 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 Pack (collared Bravery-AM1354, Artemis-AF1456, and Prism-m1855)
In June, the Dark Canyon Pack was documented traveling throughout their territory in the southern portion of the GNF. The pack continued to demonstrate behavior consistent with pup rearing during the month of June. The IFT maintained a supplemental food cache near the den as a result of cross-foster activities.

Datil Mountain Pack (collared Matsi-F1685)
In June, F1685 was located dead in New Mexico. This incident is under investigation. F1685 was the last remaining member of the Datil Mountain Pack.

Frieborn Pack (collared AF1443 and M1829)
In May, the Frieborn Pack was documented in the north central portion of the GNF in New Mexico. M1829 was located dead in New Mexico; the incident is under investigation. The pack continued to show behavior consistent with denning in May. A supplementary food cache was initiated by the IFT following the death of AM1829 in May. The food cache will also be maintained to reduce the potential for livestock-related and nuisance conflict.

Gatlin Canyon Pack – (collared Lucero-M1838)
In June, single M1838 and the uncollared wolf that M1838 has been traveling with were named the Gatlin Canyon Pack. The pack was documented traveling across the central portion of the GNF in June.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, Acalia-AF1278, Artimis-F1721, Cazador-M1710, and Isra-F1712)
In June, the Iron Creek Pack was documented traveling throughout their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF. The pack continued to demonstrate behavior consistent with pup rearing during the month of June. The IFT maintained a supplemental food cache near the den as a result of cross-foster activities. A second female (F1712) also continued to demonstrate behavior consistent with pup rearing during the month of June. The IFT maintained a supplemental food cache for F1712. In June, M1710 continued to display dispersal behavior returning to the Iron Creek Pack’s territory.

Lava Pack (collared Gunnolf-AM1285 and AF1405)
In June, the Lava Pack was located within their traditional territory in the southeastern portion of the GNF. The pack continued to demonstrate behavior consistent with pup rearing during the month of June.

Leon Pack (Collared M1824 and Connie-F1578)
In June, the Leon Pack was documented within their territory in the northwestern portion of the GNF, and continued to demonstrate behavior consistent with pup rearing.

Leopold Pack (collared AM1293 and Cancion-AF1346)
In June, the IFT documented the Leopold Pack within their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness. The Leopold Pack continued to display behavior consistent with pup rearing.

Luna Pack (collared AM1158 and AF1487)
In June, the Luna Pack was documented within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, Wuna-AF1439, Filtiarn-M1832, Xerxes-m1842, and Kamots-m1859)
In June, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in the northwestern portion of the GNF. The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache to reduce conflict. The pack continued to demonstrated behavior consistent with pup rearing.

Owl Canyon Pack (collared Everado-M1790 and Terra-F1701)
In June, the Owl Canyon Pack was documented travelling together in the western portion of the GNF and east central portion of the ASNF in Arizona. The Owl Canyon Pack no longer displayed behavior consistent with denning. The IFT initiated hazing efforts in the community of Alpine in response to intermittent pack locations in and near the community of Alpine.

Pitchfork Canyon Pack (collared Estrella-F1853)
In June, F1853 (of the SBP Pack) and two uncollared wolves that F1853 was known to be traveling with were named the Pitchfork Canyon Pack. The pack was documented within the north central portion of the GNF. This pack continued to display behavior consistent with pup rearing in June. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache for the Pitchfork Canyon Pack in June.

Point of Rocks Pack (collared Dumbledore-M1717)
In June, M1717 was documented with an uncollared female, and is now considered the Point of Rocks pack located within the southern portion of the Cibola National Forest.

Prieto Pack (collared Mato-m1846 and Jaeger-m1875)
In June, m1875 (thought to be a member of the Prieto Pack [pending genetic results]) was located within the traditional Prieto Pack territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. In June, Prieto m1846 was found dead following large dispersal behavior across the north central and central portion of the GNF.

San Mateo Pack (collared Survivor-AF1399 and Traveler-m1953)
In June, the San Mateo Pack continued to utilize their territory in the north central portion of the GNF, and has continued to exhibit behavior and movements consistent with pup rearing.

Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared Selene-AF1553, and Tona-f1837)
In June, the SBP Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The pack continued to demonstrate behavior consistent with pup rearing during the month of June.

Squirrel Springs Pack (collared AF1788, Pecos-AM1349, and Infinity-m1857)
In June, the Squirrel Springs Pack was located in the north central portion of the GNF. The Squirrel Springs Pack continued to demonstrate behavior consistent with pup rearing during the month of June.

Wahoo Peak Pack (collared Janus-F1836)
In June, the Wahoo Peak Pack traveled within their territory in the east central portion of the GNF and within the Cibola National Forest (CNF).

Whiskey Creek Pack (collared Suess-M1681)
In June, the Whiskey Creek Pack was located within their territory in the north central portion of the GNF and continued to show behavior consistent with denning.

Whitewater Canyon Pack (Shanna-F1684)
In June, F1684 of the Whitewater Canyon Pack was located in the central and eastern portion of the GNF.

Single collared Grenville-M1693
In June, M1693 was documented making wide dispersal movements across portions of the south central GNF in New Mexico.

Single collared Zara-f1847
In June, f1847 was documented traveling within the south and east central portion of the GNF.

Single collared Destello-M1831
In June, M1831 was documented traveling across the north central portion of the GNF.

Single collared Gris-m1946
In June m1946 was located within the central and eastern 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.

F1959 and four pups from the Rose Springs Pack were removed from the SCAR to captivity by the USFWS at the request of the San Carlos Apache Tribe in April 2020.

Journey-AF1674 and two pups from the Poker Pack were removed from the SCAR by the USFWS at the request of the San Carlos Apache Tribe to the Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility in May 2020.


MORTALITIES

In June, the IFT documented the following wolves dead in New Mexico: F1685 (of the Datil Mountain Pack) and m1846 (of the Prieto Pack). The incidents are both under investigation. From January 1 to June 30, 2020, the IFT has documented 14 wolf mortalities.
OUR NOTE: This mortality count of 14 does not include lethal removals conducted by Wildlife Services, such as Kiko-AM1441 which was lethally removed in June by Wildlife Services due to repetitive confirmed depredations on livestock.


INCIDENTS

During the month of June, there were 21 confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock and two livestock injured by wolves. There were five nuisance incidents investigated in June. From January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020, there have been a total of 75 depredation incidents in New Mexico and a total of 27 depredation incidents in Arizona.

The following are investigations conducted by Wildlife Services during the month that were determined to be caused by wolves. Investigations of dead and injured livestock conducted by Wildlife Services during the month that were determined to be from causes other than wolves (i.e. vehicle strike, illness, coyote predation, bear predation, or unknown cause) are not listed in this monthly update.

On June 1, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On June 1, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On June 2, the IFT investigated a report of a wolf that came into a campsite on the ASNF in Coconino County, AZ. The IFT determined the animal was not a wolf.

On June 3, the IFT investigated a report of an interaction between a hiker with dogs and three wolves on the ASNF south of Heber, AZ. The IFT determined the animals involved in the interaction were likely domestic dogs and not Mexican wolves.

On June 4, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

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

On June 4, the IFT took a delayed report of two uncollared wolves observed chasing an elk past a residence at the end of May in Alpine, AZ. The IFT conducted nightly hazing efforts during the month of June in response to intermittent wolf locations in and near the community of Alpine.

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

On June 6, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On June 6, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On June 8, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On June 15, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On June 15, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On June 16, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On June 17, the IFT took a report of two wolves that ran through a residential yard in Alpine, AZ. There were no locations of collared wolves in the area. The IFT continued nightly hazing efforts during the month of June in response to intermittent wolf locations in and near the community of Alpine.

On June 19, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

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

On June 20, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On June 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

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

On June 25, the IFT investigated a report of a wolf that had chased a dog that was being walked off leash on the National Forest adjacent to a housing area in Alpine, AZ. The reporting party stated they yelled at the animal causing it to retreat out of sight. The reporting party advised there was no physical interaction between the animal and the dog. The IFT was unable to determine if the animal was a wolf or coyote.

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

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

On June 26, Wildlife Services investigated an injured calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf injury.

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

On June 29, Wildlife Services investigated an injured cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf injury.

On June 29 and 30, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows and a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigations determined all three animals were confirmed wolf depredations and were classified as one depredation incident.

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


COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

In June, the IFT implemented the following proactive efforts to reduce livestock depredations: conducted 44 days/nights of hazing effort that resulted in hazing wolves from depredation areas on seven occasions, moved eight carcass from depredation areas, maintained eight diversionary food caches, and conducted daily communication with livestock producers in depredation areas.

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


PROJECT PERSONNEL

In June, Emily Schafsteck left the IFT to pursue her professional development. Thank you Emily for your dedication and efforts to recover Mexican wolves!


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 additional funding for a total reward amount of up to $37,000, 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; AZGFD Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700; or NMDGF Operation Game Thief at (800) 432-4263.  Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of state law and 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.