Monday, June 15, 2015

AZGFD Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update

 
Endangered Species Updates
May 1-31, 2015
 
Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
 
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), and New Mexico.    Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf.  Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting www.azgfd.gov/signup.  This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose.  The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), 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 weekly wolf telemetry flight location information or the 3-month wolf distribution map, please visit www.azgfd.gov/wolf.  On the home page, go to the “Wolf Location Information” heading on the right side of the page near the top and scroll to the specific location information you seek.
 
Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to:  (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653.  To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.
 
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) indicate wolves younger than 24 months or pups.  The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate breeding wolves.
 
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.  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
 
At the end of May 2015 the wild Mexican wolf population consisted of 52 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 19 packs and three single wolves.  Members of the IFT have started pup counts this month and have so far counted 22 pups produced by five packs in the MWEPA.

IN ARIZONA:
 
Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, m1331, f1333, m1382, m1404, and f1405)
In May, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF.  Wolf m1331 has been located separate from the Bluestem Pack during the month.  The IFT has documented denning behavior from AF1042 during May.  F1333 and m1382 have remained with AF1042.  The IFT counted a total of eight pups produced by the Bluestem Pack this month.  It is the largest litter documented in the wild since the project began.  Two wolves, m1404 and f1405 were captured and collared by the IFT this month.  Wolf m1404 was fitted with a GPS collar for the summer predation study.    
  
Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294 and M1342)
In May, the IFT continued to document denning behavior by the Elk Horn Pack within their traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF.  
     
Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, AF1280 and m1383)
In May, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF.  The IFT trapped and re-collared m1383 this month.  Wolf m1383 was fitted with a GPS collar and released on site. The IFT counted five pups produced by the Hawks Nest Pack this month.           
  
Hoodoo Pack (collared M1290)
In May, M1290 was in the area north-central portion of the ASNF.  The IFT is continuing to monitor M1290 to determine if f1395 is still traveling with him.  
 
Marble Pack (F1340) 
The IFT continues to document a male wolf with a non-function radio collar traveling with F1340 in the northwest-central portion of the ASNF.  F1340 has been documented showing denning behavior during this month.

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, AF1291, and f1335)
During May, the Maverick Pack traveled within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and ASNF.  Wolf F1335 has been located separate from the Maverick Pack in May and has continued to travel with M1338 in the southern portion of the ASNF.  The IFT has not documented denning behavior from the Maverick Pack this year.       
 
Panther Creek Pack (F1339 and M1394)
The IFT has documented denning behavior from the Panther Creek Pack.  This Pack consisting of 2 two adult wolves, has been located in the east-central portion of the ASNF throughout May.
 
Rim Pack (AF1305) 
In May AF1305 remained separated from M1130.  On May 20, M1130 was lethally removed in New Mexico due to habitual nuisance issues.  AF1305 has remained in the traditional Rim Pack territory in the southern portion of the ASNF.
 
Single M1161 (Collared)
In May, M1161 traveled back and forth from the ASNF and the SCAR.     

ON THE FAIR:

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared M1343 and AF1283)
During May, the Tsay o Ah Pack was located on the FAIR.
       
IN NEW MEXICO:
 
Coronado Pack (collared AM1051)
In May, the IFT located AM1051 in south-central portions of the Gila Wilderness. 
 
Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, M1293, m1354 and m1347)
In May, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF. The IFT continues to document denning behavior in this pack during the month.  On May 26, the IFT counted three pups produced by the Dark Canyon Pack.    
       
Fox Mountain Pack (collared m1396)
In May the IFT documented the Fox Mountain Pack within their traditional territory in the northwest portion of the GNF.  Currently the only functioning collar in the Fox Mountain Pack is on m1396.  The IFT attempted to trap other members of the Fox Mountain Pack this month to collar more wolves with m1396.      
   
Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240 and AF1278)
In May, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the Gila National Forest.  The IFT documented denning behavior in this pack during May.  
 
Lava Pack (collared M1285 and F1295)
In May the Lava Pack was located in its traditional territory in the northwest portion of the Gila Wilderness. The IFT has documented denning behavior with this pack in May.  A diversionary food cache has been set up and maintained to prevent depredations by the Lava Pack.     
 
Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, and m1398)
In May, AM1155 and AF1115 of the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  The IFT has not documented any denning activity from the Luna Pack this month.  
 
Mangas Pack (collared M1296)
In May, M1296 traveled within the northern portion of the GNF in New Mexico and east of the Gila National Forest boundary.  
 
Prieto Pack (collared AM1387, AF1251, m1386 and f1392)
In May, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  On May 17, the IFT counted six pups produced by the Prieto Pack.  
 
San Mateo Pack (collared AF903 and M1345)
During May, the IFT located AF903 traveling with M1345 within the traditional San Mateo Pack territory.  No denning behavior has been documented from this pack during this month.    
 
Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185 and f1390)
Throughout May, the IFT located the Willow Springs Pack in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  
        
M1284 (collared)
Wolf M1284 was located once in May during the weekly telemetry flight on May 6 south east of Cub Mountain.
 
M1338 (collared)
Throughout May, M1338 was located traveling in the central portion of the ASNF with f1335 from the Maverick Pack.
 
mp1350 (collared)
Throughout May, mp1350 has been located near a residence in New Mexico several times.  The IFT has hazed the wolf to discourage this behavior.   

MORTALITIES
 
No significant activity to report.
 
INCIDENTS
 
During May there were 10 livestock depredation reports involving wolves and one nuisance report. 
 
On May 4, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf on private property near the lower Frisco River in New Mexico.  The investigation determined that the cow had been killed by domestic dogs.        
            
On May 5, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Strayhorse in Arizona.  The investigation determined the calf was killed by a wolf.
 
On May 7, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in New Mexico.  The investigation determined the cow died of unknown causes.
 
On May 7, Wildlife Services investigated a several dead calves south of Lyman Lake in Arizona. The calves had been killed by coyotes.
 
On May 8, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Strayhorse in Arizona.  The investigation determined the calf was killed by a wolf.   
 
On May 9, Wildlife Services investigated two dead yearling cows near Gallo Mountain New Mexico.  The investigation determined the cows had been killed by wolves.
 
On May 9, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in New Mexico.  The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves.    
 
On May 17, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf on private land in New Mexico.  The investigation confirmed the cow had been killed by a wolf.
 
On May 18, the IFT received several reports from New Mexico about a wolf in close proximity to people and buildings.  The IFT determined it was wolf M1130 who was released in April with Rim AF1305.  On May 20, after several attempts to capture M1130 a lethal removal order was issued.  On May 20, the lethal removal order was carried out for M1130.  
 
On May 20, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Strayhorse in Arizona.  The investigation confirmed the cow had been killed by a wolf.
 
On May 21, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in near the Magas Ranch in New Mexico.  The investigation determined the calf was killed a wolf.
 
On May 28, Wildlife Services investigated four injured calves near Strayhorse in Arizona.  The investigation determined the calves had been injured by a wolf.  
 
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION
 
On May 13, the IFT gave a wolf program update and presentation on the new 10j rule to the Payson Habitat Partnership Committee.    
 
PROJECT PERSONNEL
 
In May, Mitchell started his internship with the USFWS.  Thanks for your help Mitchell!
 
REWARDS OFFERED
 
The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AGFD 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.