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Monthly Status Report: July 1-31, 2020 - Arizona Game and Fish Department

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Endangered Species Updates
August 19, 2020


Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update
July 1-31, 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
In an effort to provide more concise information and to make this report more useful, beginning in October 2020, the report will be in a changed format and will begin to be provided on a quarterly basis.


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 July, there were 37 named wolf packs (18 in AZ and 19 in NM) and 6 single collared wolves. There were 88 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 July, 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.

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

Cerro Trigo Pack (collared Fuerte-F1825 and M2555)
In July, 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. The in the Cerro Trigo territory in an effort to reduce the potential for livestock-related conflict. In the month of July F1825 was found dead in Arizona; the incident is currently under investigation.

Eagle Creek Pack (collared Canyon-M1477)
In July, 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 July, 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 consistent with pup rearing. The IFT maintained a food cache for the pack 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 July, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. The Hoodoo Pack continued to exhibit behavior consistent with pup rearing. The IFT maintained a food cache for the Hoodoo Pack 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 July, the Noble Mountain Pack was located in their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.

Panther Creek Pack (Fuerza-AM1382, Denali-AF1683, and Faith-f1939)
In July, the IFT documented the Panther Creek Pack in their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. 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 July, 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 consistent with pup rearing. The IFT continued to maintain a food cache as part of a cross-foster into the pack in April, to reduce the potential for livestock-related conflict and to reduce pack locations in the community of Alpine.

Rocky Prairie Pack (collared AM1383 and Isra-AF1489)
In July, 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 consistent with pup rearing. The IFT maintained a supplemental food cache for the Rocky Prairie Pack as part of a cross-foster into the pack in May.

Rose Springs Pack (Juniper-M1704 and Llave-F1828)
In July, the IFT documented M1704 travelling with F1828 in the east central portion of the ASNF, on the eastern portion of the FAIR and on the SCAR. The pair has been travelling together long enough to be considered a pack. They will retain the Rose Pack name.

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

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


ON THE FAIR:

Baldy Pack (collared Essential-AM1347 and Spirit-F1560)
In July, 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 July, 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 July, 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 July, 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 July, the Tu dil hil Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO:

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

Colibri Pack (collared AM1555 and Gus-m1856)
In July, 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 July, 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 July. The IFT maintained a supplemental food cache as a result of cross-foster activities this spring.

Frieborn Pack (collared AF1443)
In July, the Frieborn Pack was documented traveling throughout their territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT continued to maintain a supplementary food cache. The pack continued to demonstrated behavior consistent with pup rearing.

Gatlin Canyon Pack – (collared Lucero-M1838)
In July, the Gatlin Canyon Pack was documented traveling across the central portion of the GNF.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, Acalia-AF1278, Artimis-F1721, Cazador-M1710, and Isra-F1712)
In July, 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 July. The IFT maintained a supplemental food cache as a result of cross-foster activities this spring. A second female (F1712) also continued to demonstrate behavior consistent with pup rearing during the month of July. The IFT maintained a supplemental food cache for F1712.

Lava Pack (collared Gunnolf-AM1285 and AF1405)
In July, 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 July.

Leon Pack (Collared M1824 and Connie-F1578)
In July, 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 July, 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 July, the Luna Pack was documented within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.[O1]

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, Wuna-AF1439, Filtiarn-M1832, Xerxes-m1842, and Kamots-m1859)
In July, 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 July, the Owl Canyon Pack was documented travelling together in the western portion of the GNF and east central portion of the ASNF in Arizona.

Pitchfork Canyon Pack (collared Estrella-F1853)
In July, the Pitchfork Pack was documented within the north central portion of the GNF. This pack continued to display behavior consistent with pup rearing in July. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache for the Pitchfork Canyon Pack in July.

Point of Rocks Pack (collared Dumbledore-M1717)
In July, the Point of Rocks Pack was located within their territory in the southern portion of the Cibola National Forest.

San Mateo Pack (collared Survivor-AF1399 and Traveler-m1953)
In July, 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)
In July, 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 July.

Squirrel Springs Pack (collared AF1788, Pecos-AM1349, and Infinity-m1857)
In July, 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 July.

Wahoo Peak Pack (collared Janus-F1836)
In July, f1836 was located dead in New Mexico; the incident is currently under investigation. This was the last remaining member of the Wahoo Peak Pack.

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

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

Single collared Grenville-M1693
In July, M1693 was documented traveling across the central portion of the GNF.

Single collared Zara-f1847
In July, F1847 was documented making large movements within the east central portion of the ASNF in Arizona and the southern and east central portions of the GNF in New Mexico.

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

Single collared Gris-m1946
In July m1946 was located within the central and eastern portion of the GNF.

Single collared Jaeger-m1875
In July, m1875 (previously thought to be a member of the Prieto Pack [genetics still pending]) was documented making wide dispersal movements across the central GNF.

Single collared Tona-f1837
In July, f1837 (previously of the SBP Pack) was documented 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.

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 July, the IFT documented f1836 of the Wahoo Peak Pack dead in New Mexico and F1825 of the Cerro Trigo Pack dead in Arizona. Both incidents are under investigation. From January 1 to July 31, 2020, the IFT has documented 16 wolf mortalities.


INCIDENTS

During the month of July, there were 16 confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock, one probable wolf depredation and six livestock injured by wolves. There was one nuisance incident investigated in July. From January 1, 2020 to July 33, 2020, there have been a total of 84 depredation incidents in New Mexico and a total of 34 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 July 2, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Greenlee County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a probable wolf depredation.

On July 6, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows and one injured cow (which later died) in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined that the cows were all confirmed wolf depredations.

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

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

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

On July 7, Wildlife Services investigated an injured calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined that the injury was a confirmed wolf injury.

On July 7, Wildlife Services investigated an injured calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined that the injury was a confirmed wolf injury.

On July 7, Wildlife Services investigated an injured calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined that the injury was a confirmed wolf injury.

On July 7, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On July 9, Wildlife Services investigated an injured cow calf in Greenlee County, AZ. The investigation determined that the injuries were both confirmed wolf injuries.

On July 14, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

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

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

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

On July 20, Wildlife Services investigated an injured calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined that the injury was a confirmed wolf injury.

On July 21, a private citizen observed two wolves chasing cattle along a road from an ATV.  The estimated distance from the citizen and the wolves was approximately 40 meters.  The citizen reported that he has seen wolves multiple times before and identified a radio collar on one of the wolves.  The observation lasted approximately one minute before the wolves left the area.  This nuisance event occurred on Forest Service Land in Catron County in NM.

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

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

On July 23, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On July 29, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

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

On July 31, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On July 31, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.


COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

In July, the IFT implemented the following proactive efforts to reduce livestock depredations: conducted 30 days/nights of hazing effort, moved nine carcass from depredation areas, maintained six diversionary food caches, and conducted daily communication with livestock producers in depredation areas.

Throughout the month of July 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

There were no personnel updates for the month of July.


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.