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Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project News – January 2011

[large thumbnail url=”mexican-wolf-reintroduction-project-news-january-2011″ filename=”news” year=”2011″ month=”02″ day=”17″] [thumbnail icon url=”mexican-wolf-reintroduction-project-news-january-2011″ filename=”news” year=”2011″ month=”02″ day=”17″] The Arizona Fish and Game Department released their monthly Mexican gray wolf update for January.

The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (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 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), 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

Project personnel completed the 2010 end-of-year population count on January 27. The specific minimum population estimate for 2010 is 50 wolves and two breeding pairs. A breeding pair consists of at least one adult male (including an alpha male), at least one adult female (including an alpha female), and at least two pups produced during the same year that survive until the end of December. As a result of count and capture efforts associated with the end-of-year population count, as well as two translocation operations that occurred this month, the collared population at the end of January 2011 consisted of 26 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among ten packs and two single wolves.

On January 20, the IFT captured Paradise Pack AF1056 in the vicinity of Garris Knoll on the ASNF. They replaced the wolf’s telemetry collar, and released it back into the BRWRA near Garris Knoll on the same day. The IFT also captured Bluestem Pack AF1042 near Middle Mountain on the ASNF; replaced its telemetry collar; and released it on January 21 south of Middle Mountain.

On January 21, the IFT captured San Mateo Pack AF903 in the vicinity of Indio Canyon in New Mexico, and fitted it with a new telemetry collar. A previously uncollared wolf, fp1211, from the Middle Fork Pack was captured in the vicinity of the Canyon Creek Mountains and fitted with a telemetry collar. The IFT released both wolves back into their pack territories on the same day they were captured.

On January 22, the IFT captured Dark Canyon Pack AM992 near Snow Lake, New Mexico. The wolf received a new telemetry collar, and the IFT released it near Snow Lake on January 23.

On January 24, the IFT captured San Mateo Pack fp1212 for the first time near Indio Canyon, fitted it with a telemetry collar, and released it in the same vicinity on the same day.

On January 25, the IFT captured Morgart’s Pack M1155 as part of an approved translocation plan in New Mexico. The IFT planned on pairing this wolf with a wolf from captivity, F1105, then releasing both into the Fox Mountain Pack territory near Hulsey Lake on the GNF. On January 26, the IFT placed M1155 into a chain link kennel in the vicinity of Spur Lake Basin; however, the wolf chewed its way out of the kennel the same day. After discussions between the primary IFT agencies involved, the IFT decided to release F1105 on January 27 in the immediate vicinity of where M1155 was located. This action was conducted with the expectation the wolves would find each other and establish a pair bond. At the end of January, however, these two wolves were traveling separately in the BRWRA.

On January 28, the IFT translocated a single male wolf, M1049, into the Hawks Nest Pack territory in Arizona on the ASNF for the purpose of providing a potential breeding male wolf for Hawks Nest Pack AF1110. M1049 was never able to connect with the Hawks Nest Pack. Instead, it began to localize around houses with domestic dogs in the Nutrioso community in Arizona. After repeated, intensive efforts to haze the wolf away from the houses failed, the IFT discussed management options and received permission from the FWS to capture the wolf and remove it to captivity. This wolf was successfully captured on February 2, and safely removed to a holding facility in New Mexico.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AM806, AF1042 and m1183)

Throughout January, the IFT located AM806 and AF1042 in their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. The IFT located m1183 traveling outside of the traditional Bluestem Pack territory on the FAIR and SCAR.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AF1110, f1188, fp1208, mp1209 and mp1210)

During January, the IFT located all the Hawks Nest Pack wolves except f1188 in their traditional summer and winter territory in the north-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT located f1188 traveling with Fox Mountain Pack M1158 in the northeast portion of ASNF.

Rim Pack (collared AF858, AM1107 and f1187)

Throughout January, the IFT located the Rim Pack utilizing both its summer and winter range areas on the central portion of the ASNF.

ON THE FAIR:

Paradise Pack (collared AF1056)

During January, the IFT located AF1056 within its traditional winter territory on the northwest portion of ASNF.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Dark Canyon (collared AM992 and AF923)

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

Middle Fork Pack (collared AM871, AF861 and fp1211)

In January, the IFT located AM871, AF861 and fp1211 within their traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF903 and fp1212)

The IFT located AF903 in its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF during January. They also found M1157 traveling with AF903.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared M1157 and M1158)

During January, the IFT located M1157 traveling with San Mateo Pack AF903 in the traditional San Mateo territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. Throughout the month of January, the IFT documented M1158 traveling in the northeast-central portion of the ASNF in Arizona with Hawks Nest Pack f1188.

Morgart’s Pack (collared M1155)

Throughout January, the IFT located this wolf in the northeastern portion of the GNF. It has been traveling alone in the northern portion of the GNF after being translocated into the northwestern portion of the GNF to facilitate a potential breeding pair formation with F1105 from captivity.

m1185 (collared)

Throughout January, the IFT located this wolf, originally from the Middle Fork Pack, traveling widely through the northern portions of the BRWRA in both Arizona and New Mexico. Due to the wide travel range exhibited by this individual, the IFT now considers this wolf to be a single animal, not attached to a pack.

F1105 (collared)

Since this wolf was translocated into New Mexico near Hulsey Lake on January 27, F1105 has been monitored closely by IFT personnel and has been traveling through the northwestern portion of the GNF.

MORTALITIES

No significant activity occurred this month.

INCIDENTS

The IFT investigated two reports of potential livestock depredations during January. Both incidents were confirmed as wolf depredations and assigned to uncollared wolves.

On January 15, WS personnel investigated a dead steer outside of the BRWRA, just north of Highway 60 in New Mexico, near the border with Arizona. They confirmed the incident as a wolf depredation, and estimated the date of death to be on or around January 8-10.

On January 18, WS personnel investigated a dead yearling heifer outside of the BRWRA, just north of Highway 60 in New Mexico, near the border with Arizona. They also confirmed this incident as a wolf depredation with an estimated time of death on or around January 3-5.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

No significant activity occurred this month.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

No significant activity occurred this month.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

Sarah Rinkevich left the Project in December after a two-month detail as acting Field Projects Coordinator. Thanks, Sarah, for all of your hard work during your time with us.

Maggie Dwire returned to the Project as Assistant Recovery Coordinator after a three-month detail to the FWS regional office in Albuquerque, working as a recovery biologist. Welcome back, Maggie!

Liz Jozwiak joined the Project this month as the new Field Projects Coordinator for the FWS. Liz comes from the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, and has extensive wolf management experience with the FWS on the Kenai Wildlife Refuge. Welcome to the Project, Liz!

Melissa Ruszczyk joined the Project as a FWS volunteer this month. Welcome to the Project, Melissa!

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.

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