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Wolves
Wolf History, Conservation, Ecology and Behavior
[www.wolfology.com]
Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Updates
March & April 2004
Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update-March 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, at least one being collared, that maintain an established territory and are proven breeders. In the event that one of the two alpha wolves die, the pack 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 on a consistent basis but are not proven breeders.
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS As of the end of March, the population consisted of 19 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 (traveling with an uncollared wolf), M798 (traveling with an uncollared wolf), F858 (traveling with an uncollared wolf), M832 (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 Francisco Pack AF511 (traveling with an uncollared wolf).
There are four lone wolves: M795, and M859 in Arizona; and M796, and F799 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 SCAR and the FAIR in Arizona.
The intensive winter kill monitoring effort that began the first of March to document prey selection for Cienega, Hawks Nest, and M859 ended March 22. A total of ten elk kills were documented. Calves composed the majority of the elk killed (six).
The following is a brief status of wolf activities:
Arizona: Hawks Nest Pack was observed on several fresh elk kills during March.
The Bluestem Pack spent most of the month along the Black River on both the SCAR and the FAIR.
Cienega AF487 was observed with another wolf on several occasions in March. She was also located on fresh elk kills during March.
Three wolves, one uncollared, have been observed with the Saddle Pack. This pack had four confirmed depredations (see “Incidents”) during March. As a result, WS began trapping efforts to remove the pack from the SCAR, which so far, has resulted in the capture of F797 March 24.
M795 has been located on the SCAR and FAIR.
M798 was again observed with an uncollared wolf on several occasions this month and has been on the FAIR as well as in his traditional territory in the northern portion of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.
F858 was observed on several occasions with another wolf during March.
M859 was observed on fresh elk kills twice during March.
New Mexico: M796 remains in the San Mateo Mountains on the Cibola National Forest.
Group M729 and F799 had two confirmed depredations (see “Incidents”) during March. As a result, WS began trapping efforts to remove them, which so far, has resulted in the capture of M729 on March 22.
Gapiwi AF624 has not been located since February 6 despite scanning for her during weekly telemetry flights. A formal search flight will be conducted in April to determine her status as “Fate Unknown”.
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 March 9, WS personnel investigated a report from project personnel of a dead newborn calf in New Mexico. It was determined to be a confirmed depredation involving F799 and M729. Intensive monitoring / hazing occurred to attempt to prevent additional depredations.
Despite hazing efforts, on March 18, WS personnel investigated a report from a rancher in New Mexico of a dead newborn calf that wolves were seen feeding on. It was determined to be a confirmed depredation likely involving F799 and M729. WS began trapping for these wolves and on March 22, M729 was captured and taken to Sevilleta. During his examination at Sevilleta, it was discovered that he had a large infected abscess on his neck. Due to the extent of the infection, he underwent surgery where wood splinters were discovered. He is recovering at Sevilleta and is being administered daily oral antibiotics until the infection clears. Trapping for F799 continues.
On March 18 and March 20, WS investigated the carcasses of two newborn calves on the SCAR. Both kills were determined to be confirmed depredations involving the Saddle Pack. Because of these two depredations, and that this pack has been primarily located on the SCAR for the past two months, project personnel began trapping efforts on March 20. On March 23, WS investigated the carcass of an older calf on the SCAR and it was also determined to be a confirmed depredation. On March 24, F797 was captured, and taken to Sevilleta. She is visibly pregnant and is expected to whelp pups in early April. On March 26, project personnel observed a severely injured calf on the SCAR. The calf died the next day and it was determined to be a fourth depredation. Trapping for M574 and an uncollared wolf continues.
MORTALITIES Nothing new to report.
CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT On March 16, three wolves were captured at Sevilleta and reunited wqith their mates, which had been separated to prevent breeding. Four additional wolves were captured and given their annual examinations, two of which were transported to the Ladder Ranch wolf facility.
On March 17, one wolf was captured at the Ladder Ranch wolf facility and reunited with his mate, which had been separated to prevent breeding. Additionally, a female was captured from Sevilleta and brought to the Ladder Ranch wolf facility to be with two males for companionship.
Genetic results reveal that F858 is a pack member from the Cienega Pack and M859 is a pack member from the Bluestem Pack.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION On March 6 and 7, Shawna Nelson manned a wolf information booth and gave two presentations for an open house at the Wildlife Center at Adobe Mountain in Phoenix. Over three thousand people were contacted during this event.
On March 10, Shawna Nelson spoke with 15 students in a Hunter Education class about the differences between wolves and coyotes as well as Law Enforcement issues in Alpine, AZ.
On March 13 and 14, Bruce Sitko manned a wolf information booth at the Tres Rios Festival in Phoenix celebrating the natural history of the Southwest. Approximately 500 people were contacted during this event.
On March 17, Dan Groebner provided a project update to over 30 people at the Arizona State Capital as part of their Monthly Brown Bag speaker series.
On March 25, Krista Beazley gave a wolf update to 30 people at a Hunter Education class in Whiteriver.
On March 27, John Oakleaf gave a wolf update and responded to questions at the Nutrioso Community Association Meeting about the project and provided information fact sheets to approximately 60 Nutrioso residents.
The next Mexican Wolf Adaptive Management Oversight Committee (MW AMOC) meeting will be held in Clifton, Arizona, from 1:00-5:00 p.m. on April 22. This is a closed meeting for the lead agencies and cooperators.
The next Mexican Wolf Adaptive Management Working Group (MW AMWG) meeting will also be held in Clifton, Arizona, from 1:00-5:00 p.m. on April 23. This meeting is open to the public.
March 29 marked the six-year anniversary of the first wolves released in Arizona!
PROJECT PERSONNEL Jesse Lewis, a USFWS volunteer, left the project March 31 to begin a seasonal position in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska assisting a wildlife biologist. Thank you Jesse for all of your hard work!
The USFWS Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program will be accepting applications April 1 – 15 for two six-month volunteer positions with the project in Alpine, AZ beginning around May 1. Please see attached position announcement for more information.
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 Program Volunteer Positions
MEXICAN GRAY WOLF RECOVERY PROGRAM
Position: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Volunteer
Positions Available: 2, starting approximately April 1, 2004
Application Period: 4/01/04 - 4/15/04
Commitment: 6 months minimum
Living Stipend: $15/day
Location: Alpine, AZ
Housing: Provided
Major Duties: The volunteer will perform a variety of tasks in support of the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf to the Apache and Gila National Forests in east-central Arizona and west-central New Mexico. Duties may include monitoring of wolf locations, movements, and activities through radio-telemetry as well as backcountry travel by backpacking, horseback riding, and mule packing. Camping for extended periods of time in remote areas to monitor wolves while in acclimation pens and post release may also be involved. Collection, processing, storing, and delivery of road-killed ungulates to the wolves while in acclimation pens and as supplementary food post release. May assist biologists with various wolf management and research activities such as capture and radio collaring of wolves, and monitoring of den and rendezvous site activity. Assists project biologists with distributing current wolf information to campers, hunters, and other persons using the recovery area. Volunteer will also assist project biologists with various office tasks such as data entry and equipment maintenance.
Qualifications: The applicant should be in excellent physical health. He/she must be able to work independently and with a team, often in remote areas under extreme environmental conditions. Applicants with or working towards a Bachelors degree in wildlife biology, experience with backcountry map and compass use, remote backcountry hiking and camping, radio telemetry, 4WD vehicles, and good communication skills are preferred.
E-mail, FAX, or mail a resume and cover letter with 3 references as soon as possible to:
Volunteer Position Attn: Dan Stark Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program P.O. Box 856 Alpine, AZ 85920
FAX: 928-339-4218 dan_stark@fws.gov
Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update-April 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 Fort 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, at least one being collared, that maintain an established territory and are proven breeders. In the event that one of the two alpha wolves dies, the remaining wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack name. A “group” of wolves is defined as two or more wolves that travel together on a consistent basis but are not proven breeders.
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS As of the end of April, the population consisted of 17 wolves with radio collars in eight packs, three groups, and three lone wolves. Arizona: Hawks Nest Pack (AF486, AM619), Cienega Pack AF487 (traveling with another uncollared wolf), Bluestem Pack (AF521, AM507), Saddle Pack AM574, M798 (traveling with an uncollared wolf), F858 (traveling with an uncollared wolf), M832 (traveling with an uncollared wolf), M795; and Bonito Creek Pack (AM794) and, Hon-Dah Pack (AM578), both located on the FAIR. New Mexico: Luna Pack (AF562, AM583), Francisco Pack AF511 (traveling with an uncollared wolf), M796, and M859.
Based on other field data (sightings, tracks, howling etc.), there are approximately 35-40 additional wolves, 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 SCAR and the FAIR in Arizona.
The following is a brief status of wolf activities:
Arizona: The Bluestem Pack spent most of the month along the Black River on the SCAR and Apache National Forest.
Cienega AF487 was observed on multiple occasions traveling with a larger uncollared wolf.
WS is still attempting to capture Saddle Pack AM574. Project personnel no longer think that an uncollared wolf is traveling with him. In mid April, he moved off of the SCAR and is now on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
M795 has been located on the FAIR.
M798 was again observed with an uncollared wolf this month and has been on the FAIR as well as in his traditional territory in the northern portion of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.
F858 was seen on a fresh mule deer carcass April 1. She and the uncollared wolf moved down towards the Mogollon Rim during April and were heard howling on April 14 by project personnel.
On April 26, project personnel saw elk bunched up, alert, with their flanks heaving. Hawks Nest was in the trees nearby, but was not seen, indicating that the wolves had probably been chasing the elk.
New Mexico: M859 traveled from Arizona to the Apache National Forest in New Mexico this month.
On April 18, F799 was captured near Collins Park and reunited with her mate, M729, at Sevilleta. She and her mate were captured due to two confirmed depredations in the area.
A formal search flight was conducted in April to search for Gapiwi AF624. She was not located and her status is now “Fate Unknown.”
Francisco Pack AF511, Luna Pack, and M832 remain in their traditional ranges.
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 April 15, WS personnel investigated a calf carcass on the SCAR. The kill was determined to be a confirmed depredation by Saddle Pack AM574. This is the fifth confirmed depredation by this wolf and associates.
MORTALITIES Nothing new to report.
CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT Wolf F797, formerly of the Francisco Pack and recently recaptured from the wild, gave birth to five pups on April 5 at the Sevilleta wolf facility.
Wolf F667 gave birth to three pups on April 15 at the Ladder Ranch wolf facility.
Wolf F799, recently recaptured from the wild, gave birth to 6 pups on April 24 at the Sevilleta wolf facility; five pups are currently surviving.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION On April 6-7, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Commission held a public meeting; one of the agenda items was wolf recovery within NM.
On April 13-14, Bob Vahle and Dan Groebner participated in a Federal and State Highway Administration workshop, at the Phoenix Zoo, to identify wolf dispersal corridors as well as core areas, and recommend mitigation to minimize fragmentation of wolf and other wildlife habitat in Arizona.
On April 13-14, the Southwestern Gray Wolf Distinct Population Segment Recovery Team met in Albuquerque, NM to discuss recovery planning for the Mexican wolf.
On April 15, an Interagency Field Team (IFT) meeting was held to discuss spring releases and translocations, current depredation management actions, and other logistical issues.
On April 21, Shawna Nelson spoke with 15 Cub Scouts in Eagar, AZ about the wolf project as part of their merit badge.
On April 21, USFWS personnel met with the SCAT to discuss wolf management issues and concerns on the reservation.
On April 22-23, the Adaptive Management Oversight Committee (AMOC) met in Clifton, AZ to discuss the current status and issues concerning the Blue Range Reintroduction Project.
On April 23, the Adaptive Management Working Group (AMWG), met in Morenci, AZ to discuss the current status and issues concerning the Blue Range Reintroduction Project.
On April 24, Shawna Nelson manned a wolf information booth in Show Low at Scout-O-Rama. The event was held for the public to see scouting in action. Approximately 100 people were contacted during this event.
On April 26, Members of the IFT attended a Mexican Wolf Immobilization Refresher Course presented by Dave Hunter of the Turner Endangered Species Fund in Alpine, AZ.
On April 27, Paul Overy spoke with the Blue River community about a proposed release in 2004, in the Primary Recovery Area. Approximately 25 people attended the meeting.
PROJECT PERSONNEL Jim Ashburner, Special Agent with the USFWS, will be starting with the Mexican Wolf Project May 5. His primary responsibility will be with the Project but he will have other agent responsibilities as well. Jim replaces Curtis Graves who left the project several months ago.
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 $35,000 is being offered by a variety of public interest groups for a total amount of up to $45,000, depending on the information provided. 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.