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Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project News – April 2012

The Arizona Fish and Game Department released their monthly Mexican gray wolf update for April.Monthly Status Report: April 1-30, 2012

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), 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 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 2012, the collared population consisted of 31 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 13 packs and three single wolves. The IFT located several of the collared single wolves traveling with other packs and dispersing wolves this month. 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 AF1042 and m1240)

Throughout April, the IFT located these wolves in their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. AM806 is not included in this report due to its nonfunctioning radio telemetry collar.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared F1208 and m1244)

In April, these wolves continued to use their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT documented the presence of AM1038 with this pack during April; however, this wolf is not included in this report due to its nonfunctioning radio telemetry collar.

Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and AF858)

Throughout April, the IFT located the Rim Pack utilizing its traditional summer range in the south-central portion of the ASNF.

Paradise Pack (collared AM795, AF1056, m1243 and m1245)

In April, these wolves continued to utilize the traditional winter and summer range of their territory in the northern portion of the ASNF, FAIR and just outside of the BRWRA in Arizona.

ON THE FAIR:

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183)

During April, the IFT located this wolf traveling on the FAIR.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1253)

During April, the IFT located this wolf traveling on the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, f1250 and f1251)

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

Fox Mountain Pack (collared M1158 and F1188)

Throughout April, the IFT documented these wolves traveling in the northwest portion of the GNF and just outside of the BRWRA in New Mexico.

Luna Pack (collared AF1115 and M1155)

In April, the IFT located the Luna Pack within its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT now considers M1155 to be a part of the Luna Pack. The IFT located F1246 traveling with M1248 in the central portion of the GNF during April. The IFT now considers F1246 and M1248 to be a new wolf pack.

Middle Fork Pack (collared AM871 and AF861)

In April, the IFT located AM871 and AF861 within their traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF, including the Gila Wilderness.

San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157, AF903 and m1249)

During April, the IFT located these wolves in the traditional San Mateo Pack territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.

Willow Springs Pack (collared M1185)

Throughout April, the IFT located this wolf in the north-central portion of the GNF.

M1248 and F1246 (collared)

Throughout April, the IFT located these wolves traveling together in the central portion of the GNF. The IFT now considers these wolves to be new pack and will assign a pack name in May.

F1212 (collared)

During April, the IFT located this wolf traveling in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT was unable to obtain a visual observation on this wolf this month to confirm if it was still traveling with an uncollared wolf, but will continue to monitor it to determine its pairing status.

M1252 (collared)

In April, the IFT located this wolf traveling widely throughout the BRWRA on the ASNF and GNF.

m1241 (collared)

The IFT did not locate m1241 on telemetry flights or via ground telemetry during April. The IFT will continue with efforts to locate this wolf.

MORTALITIES

No wolf mortalities were documented during April.

INCIDENTS

During April, IFT personnel investigated three livestock depredation incidents and one dog injury incident in the BRWRA.

On April 13, WS personnel investigated an injured dog from the vicinity of east Elk Mountain in New Mexico. The cause of this incident was attributed to coyotes.

On April 24, WS personnel investigated a dead cow north of Greens Peak outside of the BRWRA in Arizona. They determined the incident to be a wolf depredation and assigned it to the three members of the Paradise Pack.

On April 26, WS personnel investigated a dead calf north of Canovis Creek just outside of the BRWRA in New Mexico. They determined the incident to be a wolf depredation and assigned it to the Fox Mountain Pack.

On April 30, WS personnel investigated a dead calf near Collins Park, New Mexico. They determined the incident to be a coyote depredation.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

On April 13, at the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility, personnel captured F1031 and F1034 for dental work and transferred the wolves to the Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood, New Mexico. Dr. Peter Emily of the Peter Emily International Veterinary Dental Foundation performed courtesy advanced dental procedures.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

In April, Project personnel continued with landowner contacts regarding specific wolf locations in relation to livestock calving operations in Arizona and New Mexico.

On April 5, IFT personnel gave a Project overview to approximately 30 individuals at a board meeting of the Malpais Borderlands group in Silver City, New Mexico.

On April 24, IFT personnel manned a Mexican wolf project outreach display at the inaugural WMAT Earth Day event in Whiteriver, Arizona. Over 300 individuals visited the display, and the IFT was able to provide information and outreach materials to a variety of event attendees.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

No significant activity occurred this month.

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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