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Wolves
Wolf History, Conservation, Ecology and Behavior
[www.wolfology.com]
Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Updates
January & February 2004
Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update-January 2004
This is a summary of the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction project in Arizona and New Mexico. Additional information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at 1-888-459-WOLF, or by visiting the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s web site at http://mexicanwolf.fws.gov. Past updates may also be viewed on this website or interested parties may sign up to receive the update electronically by visiting www.azgfd.com. This update is public property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit. The reintroduction project is a multi-agency cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services (USDA-WS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) on the Ft. Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), the San Carlos Apache Tribe (SCAT), and other supporting organizations including the Turner Endangered Species Fund (TESF) and Defenders of Wildlife (DOW).
Please report any wolf sightings, incidents of take or harassment of wolves, or suspected livestock depredations to: (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888)-459-WOLF, or the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s 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 the history of all known Mexican wolves. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 18 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate sub-adults (younger than 18 months) or pups. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate alpha wolves.
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS As of the end of January, there were 21 wolves with radio collars traveling in one of ten groups or singly as follows: Arizona: Hawks Nest Pack (AF486, AM619), Cienega Pack (AF487), Bluestem Pack (AF521, AM507), Saddle Pack (AM574), M798 (traveling with an uncollared wolf); and Bonito Creek Pack (AM794) and Hon-Dah Pack (AM578), both located on the FAIR. New Mexico: Luna Pack (AF562, AM583), Gapiwi Pack (AF624), and pair F799 and M729. There are seven lone wolves, including M795, M796, F797, F858, and M859 in Arizona, and AF511 and M832 in New Mexico. Based on other field data (sightings, tracks, howling etc.), there are approximately 10-15 additional wolves, not including pups born last year, distributed among the groups, as well as wolves traveling separately from known groups.
MONITORING Field efforts continue to focus on monitoring wolf activity throughout the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, as well as on both the San Carlos Apache Reservation and FAIR in Arizona.
The following is a brief status of wolf activities:
Arizona: Up to three uncollared wolves have been seen in the Hannagan Meadow area this past month.
On repeated occasions, Cienega AF487 has been traveling with one uncollared wolf in the Cienega Pack’s traditional home range.
On January 12, M859 was observed in a social interaction with the Hawks Nest pair. The three wolves were also observed feeding on a cow elk carcass. M859 was located with the pair for approximately a week. On January 19, the Hawks Nest Pack was again observed feeding on a wolf-killed calf elk carcass. M859 has since been located on his own in the Hawks Nest Pack territory.
On January 16, M795 was located in traditional Bluestem Pack territory; however, he has since dispersed out of the area.
On January 24, project personnel observed the alpha pair of the Bluestem Pack; no uncollared wolves were seen with them.
Saddle Pack AM574 was located with F797 throughout January, this provides the potential for the two to become a pack if they remain together through the February breeding season. Field observations earlier in the month revealed that there might be one to two un-collared wolves traveling with the pair.
F858 has been located in Saddle Pack’s traditional home range. On January 14, project personnel observed two sets of wolf tracks, indicating that she may be traveling with another wolf. On January 28, she was observed in the Cienega Pack’s territory traveling with an un-collared wolf.
New Mexico: On January 16 and 28, M796 was located in the vicinity of the San Mateos Mountains on the Cibola National Forest.
On January 16, M832 was located with F800. Previously, M832 had been in Arizona but had been missing. The wolves are siblings and are formerly of the Francisco Pack.
Since the death of her mate AM584, Gapiwi AF624 has been located in the Apache Creek and Rainy Mesa areas.
Observations have been made of F799 traveling with a collared wolf. Project personnel believe this collared wolf is M729 and that his collar is not working. This pair has been observed in the vicinity of Rainy Mesa and Elk Mountain.
Field observations by project personnel January 14 revealed one, possibly two, un-collared wolves traveling with the Luna Pack. Observation reports of wolves from the public are important as many of the wolves are currently dispersing. Please call the toll free number listed above to report wolf sightings.
INCIDENTS Nothing new to report.
MORTALITIES On January 16, AF587 of the Bonito Creek Pack, was found dead on the FAIR in Arizona. The cause of her death is under investigation.
On January 22, F800, formerly of the Francisco Pack, was found dead in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. The cause of her death is under investigation.
The necropsy report for F644, the alpha female from the Cerro Pack found dead May 25, 2003 in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona, confirmed she was killed by gunshot. The case is under investigation.
The necropsy report for F856, a pup from the Bluestem Pack found dead August 26, 2003 in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona, confirmed she was killed by gunshot. The case is under investigation.
The necropsy report for M801, a disperser from the Francisco Pack found dead October 7, 2003 in Arizona, confirmed he died from vehicular collision.
CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT On January 27, M190 was separated from F628 at Sevilleta to prevent breeding. F635 was captured, given her annual exam, and transferred to the Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility where she will be housed alone until the end of the breeding season.
On January 28, siblings M636 and F638 were captured at the Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility and given annual exams. The pair was then separated to prevent breeding.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION On January 20, the Interagency Field Team met to discuss possible future releases in Arizona and on the FAIR.
On January 9-10, the Southwestern Gray Wolf Distinct Population Segment Recovery Team met in Albuquerque, NM to discuss recovery planning for the Mexican wolf.
On January 23, Janet Reed spoke with approximately 25 students in a field studies program from Hastings College, Nebraska on the wolf project.
On January 29-30, the Adaptive Management Oversight Committee (AMOC) and Adaptive Management Working Group (AMWG), met in Socorro to discuss the current status of the Blue Range Reintroduction Project.
Project personnel will be giving project updates at the upcoming 37th Joint Annual Meeting of the Arizona and New Mexico Chapters of The Wildlife Society on February 5-7. The meeting will be held at the Quality Inn and Suites in Safford, Arizona.
REWARDS OFFERED The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican gray wolves. An additional $10,000 is being offered by Defenders of Wildlife, and $5,000 is being offered by the Center for Biological Diversity. Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents in Mesa, AZ, at (480) 967-7900, Pinetop, AZ, at (928) 367-5689, or Albuquerque, NM, at (505) 346-7828; the White Mountain Apache Tribe at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700; or New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263. Killing a Mexican gray wolf is a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act, and can invoke criminal penalties of up to $25,000 and/or six (6) months in jail or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.
Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update-February 2004
This is a summary of the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction project in Arizona and New Mexico. Additional information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at 1-888-459-WOLF, or by visiting the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s web site at http://mexicanwolf.fws.gov. Past updates may also be viewed on this website or interested parties may sign up to receive the update electronically by visiting www.azgfd.com. This update is public property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit. The reintroduction project is a multi-agency cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services (USDA-WS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) on the Ft. Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), the San Carlos Apache Tribe (SCAT) on the San Carlos Apache Reservation (SCAR), and other supporting organizations including the Turner Endangered Species Fund (TESF) and Defenders of Wildlife (DOW).
Please report any wolf sightings, incidents of take or harassment of wolves, or suspected livestock depredations to: (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888)-459-WOLF, or the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s 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 the history of all known Mexican wolves. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 18 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate sub-adults (younger than 18 months) or pups. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate alpha wolves.
Definitions: For the purpose of this report, a “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves, one being collared, which maintains an established territory and are proven breeders. In the event that one of the two alpha wolves die, the pack status or name is retained by the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size. A “group” of wolves is defined as two or more wolves, that travel together.
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS As of the end of February, the population consisted of 21 wolves with radio collars in nine packs, three groups, and four single wolves. Arizona: Hawks Nest Pack (AF486, AM619), Cienega Pack (AF487) traveling with another uncollared wolf, Bluestem Pack (AF521, AM507), Saddle Pack (AM574, F797), M798 (traveling with an uncollared wolf), F858 (traveling with an uncollared wolf); and Bonito Creek Pack (AM794) and, Hon-Dah Pack (AM578), both located on the FAIR. New Mexico: Luna Pack (AF562, AM583), Gapiwi Pack (AF624), Francisco AF511 (traveling with an uncollared wolf), and pair F799 and M729.
There are four lone wolves: M795, and M859 in Arizona; and M832 (traveling with another wolf), and M796 in New Mexico. Based on other field data (sightings, tracks, howling etc.), there are approximately 10-15 additional wolves, not including pups born last year, distributed among the groups, as well as wolves traveling separately from known groups. M859 and M832 have also been observed with other uncollared wolves.
MONITORING Field efforts continue to focus on monitoring wolf activity throughout the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, as well as on both the SCAR and the FAIR in Arizona.
The following is a brief status of wolf activities:
Arizona: On February 5, M859 was hazed from the residential area of Nutrioso. He headed southeast and on February 17, project personnel observed him with two uncollared wolves in the vicinity of Escudilla Mountain. He was later located west of Alpine, and has since moved north out of the area.
The Bluestem Pack has been located in their traditional home range, which also includes portions of the FAIR, and recently was located just south of the Black River on SCAR.
F797 has been traveling with the Saddle Pack AM574 throughout the February breeding season. The group has primarily been located on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest; however, recently they have been located inside the SCAR border.
M795 was located on SCAR and in the Bear Wallow Wilderness in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
M798 was located on FAIR and then in the northern portion of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area and is presumed to still be traveling with an uncollared wolf.
F858 has been located in Hawk’s Nest traditional home range, along the Mogollon Rim, and on the FAIR.
New Mexico: During February, M796 was located in the vicinity of the San Mateo Mountains on the Cibola National Forest.
On February 6, F799 and another collared wolf (presumed to be M729, whose collar is not functioning), were located north of the Gila Wilderness in the Reserve Ranger District.
On February 6, M832 was located with Gapiwi AF624. However, AF624 could not be located during aerial flights on February 11, 17, and 25 despite search attempts. On February 11, M832 was observed with a possibly collared wolf.
On February 10, during an aerial telemetry flight, project personnel observed AF511with another wolf chasing a cow elk. Personnel hiked into the area and evidence of a chase and attack was observed, but no confirmation of a kill was documented and AF511 was no longer in the area.
On February 17, project personnel observed the Luna Pack pair feeding on an elk carcass.
Observation reports of wolves from the public are important as many of the wolves are currently dispersing. Please call the toll free number listed above to report wolf sightings.
INCIDENTS On February 10, WS personnel investigated a report of a wolf incident with a dog near Nutrioso, AZ. It was determined that it was probable that the dog was bitten by M859 as he was in the area at the time and the bites were consistent with a wolf attack.
On February 26, WS personnel investigated a report of a cattle depredation in the northern portion of the Gila Forest, NM. It was determined that the cow died of non-predatory causes.
MORTALITIES Nothing new to report.
CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT At last summer’s SSP meeting, it was determined that M648 at Sevilleta was a high priority wolf for semen collection. On February 6, M648 was captured and Cheri Asa and Karen Bauman collected his semen for banking. He was also given his annual exam.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION On February 4, Dan Groebner gave a wolf biology presentation to 42 Blue Ridge Pre-schoolers in Pinetop, AZ.
On February 5-7, Rich Bard gave a project update at the 37th Joint Annual Meeting of the Arizona and New Mexico Chapters of The Wildlife Society in Safford, Arizona. Approximately 150 attended the presentation.
On February 12, John Oakleaf gave a presentation to approximately 40 people at the FWS Regional Office in Albuquerque, NM.
On February 19, Melissa Woolf gave a presentation to approximately 30 people at Elephant Butte State Park in NM.
On February 19-22, Bruce Sitko and Dan Groebner manned a wolf information booth at the 2004 International Sportsman’s Expo in Phoenix, AZ. Approximately 2,000 people visited the booth.
On February 24, Melissa Woolf gave a presentation to 20 kids at the Hot Springs High School Biology Club in NM.
On February 26, Maggie Dwire gave a project presentation to 35 members of the Sierra Club at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge.
On February 26, the Interagency Field Team met to discuss the 2003 Annual Report, the five-year review, and other logistical issues.
REWARDS OFFERED The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican gray wolves. An additional $10,000 is being offered by Defenders of Wildlife, and $5,000 is being offered by the Center for Biological Diversity. Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents in Mesa, AZ, at (480) 967-7900, Pinetop, AZ, at (928) 367-5689, or Albuquerque, NM, at (505) 346-7828; the White Mountain Apache Tribe at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700; or New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263. Killing a Mexican gray wolf is a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act, and can invoke criminal penalties of up to $25,000 and/or six (6) months in jail or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.