Endangered Species Updates
Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
July 1, 2015
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 http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at http://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 http://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 http://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 June 2015 the wild Mexican wolf population consisted of 46 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 28 pups produced by six packs in the MWEPA.
Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, m1331, f1333, m1382, m1404, and f1405)
In June, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. Wolf m1331 has been documented dispersing from the Bluestem Pack and has been located far to the east in New Mexico. The IFT has documented denning behavior from AF1042 during May. In June AF1042’s collar failed. Bluestem wolves F1333, m1382, m1404 and f1405 have been located in the vicinity during the month. The IFT continued the predation study during the month of June with the Bluestem Pack.
Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294 and M1342)
In June, the Elk Horn Pack began making broader movements within their traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF. The IFT is now trying to determine whether or not the pack has pups.
Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, AF1280 and m1383)
In June, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. The IFT is currently conducting a predation study involving the Hawks Nest Pack which commenced in June. On June 21, the IFT received a report that the Hawks Nest Pack was close to livestock. The wolves were scared away and did not return. No wolf killed livestock have been found while the IFT has been conducting this summer’s predation study.
Hoodoo Pack (collared M1290)
In June, M1290 was in the area north-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT has documented M1290 localizing in one area. The IFT is currently trying to confirm if M1290 has a den and pups.
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 continues to display denning behavior during this month.
Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, AF1291, and f1335)
During June, 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 consists of 2 two adult wolves and has been located in the east-central portion of the ASNF throughout June.
Rim Pack (AF1305)
In June, AF1305 has remained in the traditional Rim Pack territory in the southern portion of the ASNF.
Single M1161 (Collared)
In June, M1161 traveled back and forth from the ASNF and the SCAR.
ON THE FAIR:
Tsay o Ah Pack (collared M1343 and AF1283)
During June, the Tsay o Ah Pack was located on the FAIR.
IN NEW MEXICO:
Coronado Pack (collared AM1051)
In June, the IFT located AM1051 in south-central portions of the Gila Wilderness.
Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, M1293, m1354 and m1347)
In June, 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.
Fox Mountain Pack (collared m1396)
In June, 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, but efforts were unsuccessful.
Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240 and AF1278)
In June, 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 counted 5 pups produced by the Iron Creek Pack this month.
Lava Pack (collared M1285 and F1295)
In June, 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. A diversionary food cache has been set up and maintained to potentially prevent livestock depredations by the Lava Pack.
Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, and m1398)
In June, AM1155 remained in the Luna Pack territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT has not documented any denning activity from the Luna Pack this month. AF1115’s collar has failed and m1398 has been traveling separate from AM1155 during the month of June.
Mangas Pack (collared M1296)
In June, 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 June, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. A food cache is being maintained for this pack to potentially prevent livestock depredations.
San Mateo Pack (collared AF903 and M1345)
During June, 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, f1390 and f1397)
Throughout June, the IFT located the Willow Springs Pack in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.
Wolf M1284 was located twice in late June. On both occasions the wolf was located southwest of Eckleberger Hill.
Throughout June, M1338 was located traveling in the central portion of the ASNF with f1335 from the Maverick Pack.
Throughout June, mp1350 traveled within the GNF in New Mexico.
No mortalities were documented during June.
During June, there were seven livestock depredation reports involving wolves and one nuisance report.
On June 1, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Centerfire New Mexico. The investigation determined that the cow had been killed by a wolf or wolves.
On June 4, Wildlife Services investigated three dead calves near Gallo Mountain in New Mexico. The investigation determined that one of the calves was killed by a wolf and the two other calves were probably killed by wolves.
On June 16, Wildlife Services investigated an incident in New Mexico where a dog was attacked. The investigation determined the dog was attacked and injured by wolves. Based on the location of the interaction, the IFT believes the Iron Creek Pack was responsible for the incident.
On June 16, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Cox Canyon in New Mexico. The investigation determined the calf was killed by uncollared wolves.
On June 21, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Crescent Lake in Arizona. The investigation determined the calf was killed by a wolf. The IFT determined the Marble Pack was responsible for the kill.
On June 21, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Water Canyon in Arizona. The investigation determined the calf died from unknown causes.
On June 27, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Centerfire in New Mexico. The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION
On June 6, the IFT conducted a wolf education booth at the WMAT fishing derby at Bog Tank.
On June 23 and 24 the IFT gave two presentations regarding the new 10j rule to AGFD field personnel in Arizona.
In June, Kent Laudon started his new position with the USFWS as the IFT supervisor. Welcome to the project Kent!
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.