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Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project News – June 2010

[large thumbnail url=”mexican-wolf-reintroduction-project-news-june-2010″ filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”07″ day=”08″] [thumbnail icon url=”mexican-wolf-reintroduction-project-news-june-2010″ filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”07″ day=”08″] The Arizona Fish and Game Department has released its June 2010 Mexican Wolf report.

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 June 2010, the collared population consisted of 23 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among ten packs and one single wolf.  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 past two months, the IFT has been actively monitoring wolf packs to determine if females are denning in order to document wild-born pups and estimate their survival.  As of the end of June, the IFT estimates that at least seven packs are exhibiting denning behavior, including Middle Fork, Dark Canyon, Luna, San Mateo, Rim, Hawks Nest and Paradise.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AM806, AF1042 and m1183)
Throughout June, the IFT located AM806, AF1042 and m1183 in their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF and the FAIR.  These wolves traveled widely this month, indicating they most likely are not tending an active den to raise pups from this year’s breeding season.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AF1110, M1189 and f1188)
During June, the IFT located the Hawks Nest Pack in its traditional summer territory in the north-central portion of the ASNF.  During June, the IFT located AM1044 dead on the ASNF. The case is under investigation.

Rim Pack (collared AF858, AM1107 and f1187)
Throughout June, the IFT located the Rim Pack within its traditional summer range in the central portion of the ASNF. 

M619 (collared)
In June, the IFT failed to locate M619 in the traditional areas of the BRWRA that this wolf normally occupies.  This wolf is 11 years old, and its radio telemetry collar is aged to the point that it could have stopped functioning.  The IFT will continue to look for this wolf for another month before it is classified as “fate unknown.”

ON THE FAIR:

Paradise Pack (collared AF1056)
During June, the IFT located AF1056 within its traditional summer territory on the FAIR.  AM795 has not been located by aerial or ground telemetry efforts since mid-April, and the IFT now considers this wolf as “fate unknown.”

IN NEW MEXICO:

Dark Canyon (collared AM992 and AF923)
Throughout June, 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 June, the IFT located the Luna Pack within its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.

Middle Fork Pack (collared AM871 and AF861)
In June, the IFT located the Middle Fork Pack within its traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF.  The IFT documented m1185 traveling away from the traditional Middle Fork territory in New Mexico in May.  The IFT now considers this wolf to be a single animal.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF903)
The IFT located the San Mateo Pack in its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF during May.  In June, the IFT located AM1114 dead just outside the BRWRA in New Mexico.  The case is under investigation.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AF521, M1157 and M1158)
During June, the IFT located the Fox Mountain Pack within its traditional territory in the northwestern portion of the GNF. 

Morgart’s Pack (collared F1106 and M1155)
During June, the IFT located Morgart’s Pack in the northeastern portion of the GNF.

m1185 (collared)
During June, the IFT located this wolf traveling widely throughout the northern portion of the ASNF and the northwestern portion of the GNF.

MORTALITIES

In mid-June, the IFT located Hawks Nest Pack AM1044 dead on the ASNF in Arizona.  Later in June, the IFT located San Mateo Pack AM1114 dead outside of the BRWRA in New Mexico.  Both of these incidents are currently under investigation.

INCIDENTS

The IFT investigated four potential livestock depredation incidents in June.  The IFT determined two of these investigations to be wolf-related.

On June 2, IFT personnel located an older cow carcass north of Luna, New Mexico, and WS personnel determined the cause of death to be unrelated to wolves.

On June 19, WS personnel investigated two injured calves on a ranch just north of the BRWRA in New Mexico.  They determined both of the calves were attacked by at least one wolf.  One was injured severely and euthanized, while the other calf will recover.

On June 22, WS personnel responded to a report of a dead calf on the same ranch involved in the June 19 incident, just north of the BRWRA in New Mexico.  The remains of the calf were never recovered for examination.  WS personnel determined the calf was a probable wolf depredation.

On June 29, WS personnel investigated a dead sheep near Apache Creek in New Mexico, and determined it was killed by a coyote.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

On June 30, Project personnel at the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility captured, evaluated and immunized five six-week-old pups.  The litter consisted of two males (studbook numbers 1200 and 1201) and three females (studbook numbers 1202, 1203 and 1204).  All of the pups were healthy.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On June 4, Chris Bagnoli presented a field review of the Project to 25 high school students and their instructors from Corona del Sol High School in Tempe, Arizona, regarding Project activities and associated management issues.

On June 5, Chris Bagnoli presented a Project overview to six members of the public at the Big Lake visitor’s center on the ASNF.

On June 11, Chris Bagnoli presented a short synopsis of the workshop he and a livestock producer from the ASNF in Arizona attended in Montana in April regarding proactive management issues and techniques to reduce livestock and wolf interactions on public and private lands.

On June 23, Jeff Dolphin presented a Project overview to 65 students at the annual Arizona FFA Leadership Conference held at Camp Shadow Pines near Heber, Arizona.

On June 26, Chris Bagnoli and Bruce Sitko were present to answer questions regarding the Project at a wolf natural history open house that was held at the White Mountain Nature Center in Lakeside, Arizona.  They spoke with approximately 80 individuals.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

Two new FWS volunteers, Tara Polosky and Julie Dewilde, joined the Project in June.

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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