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Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project News – November 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 November 2012, the collared population consisted of 43 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 14 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: In November, the IFT initiated more focused efforts to document uncollared wolves within the BRWRA, including hair snare surveys, howling surveys, snow track surveys and trail cameras, and coordinated follow up regarding reported wolf sightings. These activities are scheduled to continue over the next three months.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, m1240, mp1275, mp1277 and fp1280)

Throughout November, the IFT located these wolves in their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. Two pups, mp1277 and fp1280, were located separately from the pack this month, but returned after only a few days.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AF1208 and m1244)

In November, AF1208 continued to use the pack’s traditional territory in the north-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT was able to obtain a visual sighting of the pack and observed two wolves. From this sighting, the IFT was also able to confirm that AM1038 is still traveling with AF1208. Juvenile wolf m1244 has dispersed and is traveling between Arizona and New Mexico.

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

In November, the IFT documented these wolves using their territory on the northern portion of the ASNF and the FAIR.

Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and AF858)

Throughout November, the IFT located the Rim Pack utilizing the south-central portion of the ASNF.

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183)

During November, the IFT located AM1183 in the west-central portion of the ASNF and the FAIR. The IFT is continuing to search for opportunities to collar more wolves from this pack.

ON THE FAIR:

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1253, m1254 and fp1283)

During November, the IFT located these wolves on the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Canyon Creek Pack (collared M1248 and F1246)

In November, the IFT documented M1252, a single wolf, traveling with F1246 in the north-central portion of the GNF. M1248 has not been located since October 15.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, f1251 and fp1278)

During the first two weeks of November, the IFT attempted to trap and recollar AF923 and AM992, but were unsuccessful. This pack was located within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF throughout November.

Elk Horn Pack (collared M1287 and F1212)

In November, the IFT located these wolves traveling in the northwest portion of the GNF. The IFT documented possible pup tracks associated with this pack; however, they have not been able to obtain a visual confirmation of additional wolves.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, m1276, mp1274 and fp1281)

Throughout November, the IFT documented these wolves in the northwest portion of the GNF. At times during this month, AM1158 and m1276 have been located separately from mp1274 and fp1281. At the end of November, the IFT documented all collared members of the pack as traveling together.

Luna Pack (collared AF1115, AM1155, mp1284, mp1285 and mp1286)

In November, the IFT located the Luna Pack within its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT maintained a food cache for the pack and obtained several photos of collared and uncollared wolves associated with the pack.

Middle Fork Pack (collared AM871 and AF861)

Throughout November, the IFT located these wolves within the northern part of their traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF. No counts of wolves were obtained for this pack this month.

San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157, AF903, m1249 and mp1282)

During November, the IFT located this pack in its traditional territory in the northern portion of the GNF.

Willow Springs Pack (collared M1185 and F1279)

Throughout November, the IFT located these wolves in the north-central portion of the GNF.

M1252 (collared)

This wolf has been traveling with Canyon Creek Pack F1246 since October 15. The IFT is continuing to monitor the status of these wolves.

MORTALITIES

No wolf mortalities were documented during the month of November.

INCIDENTS

During November, IFT personnel investigated one livestock depredation incident in the BRWRA.

On November 23, WS personnel investigated an older-aged cow carcass in the vicinity of Sand Flats on the GNF in New Mexico. They were unable to determine a cause of death.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

On November 13, Project personnel transferred M968 and F1064 from the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility to the Mesker Park Zoo in Mesker Park, Indiana. LightHawk Aviation generously assisted with the transport.

On November 16, Project personnel captured, evaluated and separated M1215 for behavioral concerns. The animal was in good condition.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

IFT personnel conducted hunter contacts in Arizona and New Mexico regarding the presence of wolves in specific hunt management units.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

Kaija Klauder completed her internship with the USFWS on the Project in November. Thank you, Kaija, for your dedication and 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 $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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