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Monthly update: Mexican gray wolf reintroduction project

[large thumbnail url=”monthly-update-mexican-gray-wolf-reintroduction-project” filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”05″ day=”12″] [thumbnail icon url=”monthly-update-mexican-gray-wolf-reintroduction-project” filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”05″ day=”12″] Each month the Arizona Fish and Game Department releases a report for the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program. Here’s the report for April 1-30, 2010.

The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF). Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA). 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 Web site at http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf  or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf. Past updates may be viewed on either Web site, 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), 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) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT). Other entities, including private individuals and nongovernmental organizations, cooperate through the Project’s Adaptive Management Work Group (AMWG) that meets periodically in Arizona and New Mexico.

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 alpha 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 April 2010, the collared population consisted of 28 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among ten packs and two single wolves. Some other uncollared wolves are known to be associating with radio-collared wolves, and others are separate from known packs.

Seasonal note: Wolf pups are generally born between mid-April and mid-May. During the upcoming months, the IFT will be actively monitoring wolf packs to determine if females are denning in order to document wild-born pups and estimate their survival.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AM806, AF1042 and m1183)

Throughout April, the IFT located AM806, AF1042 and m1183 in their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1044, AF1110, M1189 and f1188)

During April, the IFT located the Hawks Nest Pack in its traditional winter territory in the north-central portion of the ASNF.

Rim Pack (collared AF858, AM1107 and f1187)

Throughout April, the IFT located the Rim Pack within its traditional winter range in the west-central portion of the ASNF.

M619 (collared)

In April, the IFT located M619 in the central portion of the ASNF, as well as the northwest portion of the GNF.

ON THE FAIR:

Paradise Pack (collared AM795 and AF1056)

During April, the IFT located the Paradise Pack within its traditional winter territory on the northwestern portion of the ASNF and the northern portion of the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Dark Canyon (collared AM992 and AF923)

Throughout April, the IFT located the Dark Canyon Pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF.

Luna Pack (collared M1156 and F1115)

Throughout April, the IFT located the Luna Pack within its traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF.

Middle Fork Pack (collared AM871, AF861 and m1185)

In April, the IFT located the Middle Fork Pack within its traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF903 and AM1114)

The IFT located the San Mateo Pack in its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF during April.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AF521, M1157 and M1158)

During April, the IFT continued to locate the Fox Mountain Pack outside of its traditional territory in the northwestern portion of the GNF. The IFT located AF521, M1157 and M1158 in the north and north-central portion of the GNF this month.

Morgart’s Pack (collared F1106 and M1155)

In early April, the IFT located Morgart’s Pack in the northwestern portion of the GNF. Later in the month, the IFT located these wolves in the central portion of the GNF.

F1154 (collared)

During the early part of April, the IFT located this wolf outside of the BRWRA in New Mexico. The IFT will continue to monitor the location and activity of this wolf, as it appears to be traveling widely.

MORTALITIES

No known wolf mortalities were documented in April.

INCIDENTS

The IFT investigated five potential livestock depredation incidents in April. They determined the cause of death in three of the five depredation investigations to be wolf-related.

On April 2, WS personnel investigated a dead colt north of Red Hill, New Mexico, and determined that the cause of death was due to at least two wolves. The IFT assigned the incident to unknown or uncollared wolves. Efforts to trap and identify the wolves involved in the incident resulted in the capture of a domestic dog two weeks later. No uncollared wolves were captured during the trapping effort.

On April 15, WS personnel investigated a dead colt north of red Hill, New Mexico. This was in the same vicinity of the previous investigation on April 2. The investigation determined the cause of death was due to a coyote.

On April 18, IFT personnel assisted WS agents in the investigation of two dead calves near Reserve, New Mexico. One of the calves was determined to have been killed by a dog, and the other was determined to have been stillborn. A third calf was reported to be missing and efforts to locate this animal were unsuccessful.

On April 25, IFT personnel located a dead cow near Canyon del Buey in New Mexico. WS personnel investigated the carcass on April 26, and determined that it was killed by at least one wolf. The IFT assigned the incident to an unknown or uncollared wolf.

On April 28, Project personnel assisted WS agents in the investigation of dead yearling heifer on private land east of East Elk Mountain in New Mexico. The cause of death was determined to be multiple wolves. The IFT was split on the assignment of responsibility for the incident.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

On April 22, IFT personnel assisted Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility (Sevilleta) personnel with the capture of wolves F1031, F1032, F1033 and F1034 at the holding facility. The capture allowed for routine veterinary examinations and vaccinations of these wolves, and all were found to be in excellent condition.

In March, Sevilleta personnel observed breeding behavior between F1064 and M968. During April, personnel determined F1064 is pregnant. These wolves were allowed to breed in order to provide a pack for a proposed initial release of wolves from captivity into the primary release area in Arizona this summer; however, as of the end of April, this proposed release has not yet been formally approved by AGFD.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

The IFT hosted Timm Kaminski, a researcher from the northwestern United States representing the Mountain Livestock Cooperative (MLC), at the FWS offices in Albuquerque on April 15. Timm presented information from the Cooperative regarding techniques for reducing wolf-livestock interactions on public and private lands in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Alberta, Canada. Although there are differences between these areas and the BRWRA, many of the ideas presented have the potential to be implemented here. The IFT will be exploring the feasibility of applying the kind of analyses MLC conducts in the Northwest to our working environment.

On April 7, Maggie Dwire gave a Project overview presentation to approximately 25 individuals from the Sierra Club at the Valles Caldera Science and Education Center in New Mexico.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

Michael Robinson, a FWS volunteer, left the Project in April. Your assistance was much appreciated, Michael. Thank you for the hard work!

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 $40,000 for a total reward amount of up to $52,000, 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.

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