July 1 - 31, 2003
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS As of the end of July, there were 28 radio-collared wolves in nine packs (three in New Mexico and six in Arizona) and four lone wolves (the two remaining members of the Red Rock Pack—m729, and m730; and two single wolves—m832, and f797). Based on other field data (sightings, tracks, etc.), we believe there are approximately 10-15 additional wolves (not including pups born this year) distributed among nine packs: Hawk’s Nest (AF486, AM619), Bonito Creek (AF587, AM794), Cienega (AF487, AM194, m795, m796), Bluestem (AF521, AM507), Saddle (AF510, AM574), Francisco (AF511, AM509, m798, f799, f800, m801), Luna (AF562, AM583), Gapiwi (AF624, AM584), and Hon-Dah (AF637, AM578).
NEW RELEASE The following information was inadvertently omitted in the last update. On June 23, AF637, AM578 and their pups were captured from the Sevilleta wolf facility and transferred an area southeast of White River on the White Mountain Apache Reservation and placed in a mesh pen. The wolves dug out of their pen the following day. The pack, named the Hon-Dah Pack, has remained in the vicinity of the release site.
MONITORING As of the end of July, project personnel have documented the presence of approximately 11 pups in four packs as follows: Cienega—two pups observed June 5, Bluestem—one (possibly two) set of pup tracks observed July 23; Saddle—five pups observed July 16, and Gapiwi—2 pups observed June 2. Field efforts to document pup numbers is ongoing. Currently, the field team is focusing efforts on Bonito Creek, Hawk’s Nest, and Luna to determine the status of pups in these packs.....In response to numerous possible wolf sightings and wolves howling in the Alpine area, project personnel intensively surveyed the area for wolf sign. Two sets of possible wolf tracks and two old scats were discovered. The scats, however, were located in the area where the Cienega Pack had been located during May so they may have been from this pack during that time. Further investigations will occur to determine if wolves are in fact frequenting the Alpine area..... Traps were set to capture and collar uncollared yearlings with the Bluestem Pack AF521 and AM507 July 15 through July 24; no wolves were captured.....Project personnel have been actively attempting to trap and collar an uncollared wolf since July 19 that has been reported in the Greens Peak area.....Subadult m832, captured May 28 near Turkey Spring on the San Carlos Apache Reservation (SCAR) and released near Escudilla Mountain, began making his way back towards the SCAR the last part of June and was located in the Turkey Spring area by July 14. Trapping efforts, which began this month, to again remove this wolf from the reservation at the tribe’s request has so far been unsuccessful.....The six Francisco Pack members (AM509, AF511, m798, f799, f800, and m801) remained together until around July 12 when f800 was located 13 miles from the rest of the pack. Shortly after, m798, and m801 ventured away from the pack as well. Project personnel have been unable to locate m801 for the last two weeks. The pack remains in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.
INCIDENTS Red Rock Pack AF613 was captured in a foothold trap July 31 near Aragon, NM due to nuisance behavior and complaint of killing a domestic turkey. Project personnel took her to a veterinarian for examination where it was discovered that all five of her metatarsal bones were badly broken in her right hind foot—possibly from being stepped on by a large animal such as an elk. The injury was not trap-related as she was captured by her front foot. She is being held until surgery can be preformed to correct the injury. She will then be quarantined for several weeks post surgery to recover.
Wildlife Services investigated the following depredation and injury reports: July 1—a report of a dead calf down at Eagle Creek was determined to be a probable lion kill. July 7—m832 was observed feeding on a dead calf on the SCAR. It was determined as possible wolf kill as not enough evidence was found. July 12—project personnel on the SCAR discovered a dead calf. It was confirmed to have been killed by a coyote. July 14—a domestic dog from the Josh Ranch south of Alpine that was initially reported to have been injured by wolves was later to be confirmed as being hit by a vehicle. July 15—a report of a dead calf on the SCAR was confirmed to have been killed by noxious weeds and not predator related. July 17—a report of a dead show goat in Bernardo, NM was confirmed to have been killed by dogs. July 21—while monitoring m832, a fresh calf kill was discovered but confirmed to have been killed by a bear. July 23—a report of two dead calves (one calf was totally consumed) on the Luce Ranch down on the Blue was determined to be a possible wolf kill as not enough evidence was found. The landowner reported seeing four wolves near the carcass, one of which was collared. At the time, no known collared wolves were in the area.
CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT The following information was inadvertently omitted in the last update. The five pups that Francisco Pack AF511 whelped on May 10 and were visually confirmed five days later did not survive. When the Francisco pack was captured on June 24 to be translocated to the Gila, no pups were found. There was however, evidence (puppy scat and tracks) of emergence from the den. Emergence occurs when the pups are between 3 ½ weeks to 4 weeks of age so the pups had survived at least until this age. The cause of their death is unknown.
August 1 - 31, 2003
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 1-888-459-9653, 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. This update is public property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit. Note: In an effort to increase communication, the wolf hotline toll-free number listed above has been changed so that it rings directly to the Alpine field office. 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-Wildlife Services (USDA-WS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) on the Ft. Apache Indian Reservation, 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 1-888-459-9653, or the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s 24-Hour Dispatch at (800) 352-8407.
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 August, there were 27 radio-collared wolves in nine packs as follows: Hawk’s Nest (AF486, AM619), Cienega (AF487, AM194, m795, m796), Bluestem (AF521, AM507), and Saddle (AF510, AM574) in Arizona; Francisco (AF511, AM509, m798, f799, f800), Luna (AF562, AM583), and Gapiwi (AF624, AM584) in New Mexico; and Bonito Creek (AF587, AM794) and Hon-Dah (AF637, AM578) on the Ft. Apache Indian Reservation) and four lone wolves, m801 (previously of the Francisco pack), f797, and m729, the one remaining member of the Red Rock Pack. Based on other field data (sightings, tracks, howling etc.), there are approximately 10-15 additional wolves, not including pups born this year, distributed among the nine packs as well as wolves traveling separately from known packs.
MONITORING As of the end of August, project personnel have documented the presence of approximately 15 pups in five packs as follows: Hawk’s Nest, two pups heard howling August 20; Cienega, two pups observed July 11; Bluestem, three pups observed August 13; Saddle, five pups observed July 16; and Gapiwi, three pups observed August 21. Field efforts to document pup numbers are going. Currently, the field team is focusing efforts on Bonito Creek and Luna to determine the status of pups in these packs.....Trapping efforts to capture and collar an uncollared wolf reported in the Greens Peak area have been terminated due to lack of wolf sign, however, monitoring in the area will continue. During the telemetry flight on August 25, project personnel observed an uncollared wolf with m801 near Horseshoe Cienega Lake on the Ft. Apache Indian Reservation. This may have been the same uncollared wolf reported in the Greens Peak area. Recent ground tracking efforts suggest that the two wolves may still be traveling together.....Trapping efforts resumed this month for uncollared yearlings in the Bluestem Pack in the vicinity of PS Knoll, but ceased August 28. On August 13, an AGFD fisheries intern observed four adults and at least three pups with this pack near Centerfire Creek.....Due to logistical constraints, USDA-WS personnel have temporarily suspended trapping efforts for m832 and f797, both of which are on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, but traveling separately. The tribe has requested the wolves be removed from the reservation. Project personnel will continue efforts to remove these and other wolves from the SCAR.....On August 16, Red Rock m729 and Francisco f799 were seen traveling together, and currently remain together.
INCIDENTS Wildlife Services (WS) investigated the following depredation and injury reports:
August 2—A report of three injured calves in the Rainy Mesa area of New Mexico. Following investigation, two determined to be probable wolf-caused injuries. Red Rock yearling m729 was found in the vicinity of the cattle, and later was seen near cattle.
August 4—Project personnel initiated non-lethal methods for removing m729 (aversive conditioning/hazing followed by trapping to deter the wolf’s potential association with cattle). Members of the Francisco Pack (AM509, AF511, f799 and m798) have also been documented to be traveling in the Rainy Mesa area. However, project personnel have not documented any depredations involving members of the Francisco Pack. After a month of intensive monitoring and management, traps were removed due to the absence of cattle depredations and the wolves had displayed no sign of being habituated to cattle. Intensive monitoring by project personnel will continue as long as the wolves are present in the area.
August 7—A cow carcass in the Rainy Mesa area of New Mexico was examined and determined to have died from an infection and or bear depredation. Red Rock m729 was observed feeding on the carcass. The carcass was limed and tarped to increase the rate of decomposition and deter further scavenging.
August 11—Project personnel on the Ft. Apache Indian Reservation discovered two dead bulls under a tree. WS confirmed the bulls were killed by a lightening strike. Because m801 was also in the vicinity, the carcasses were limed and tarped to accelerate decomposition and deter further scavenging.
August 15—A report of a dead calf in the Eagle Creek area was determined to be a confirmed wolf kill, however, no collared wolves were in the area. WS set and maintained traps for several weeks to capture an uncollared wolf without success and removed the traps. The situation will continue to be monitored and if additional sign of an uncollared wolf is found, trapping will be reinitiated. August 19—During a telemetry flight, project personnel observed AF511 and m798 feeding on a cow carcass in the Rainy Mesa area. WS determined it was not killed by a predator, and limed and tarped the carcass.
August 25—During a telemetry flight, f797 was seen feeding on remains of a cow on the SCAR. WS found that it was an old hide from a cow that had died earlier from an undetermined cause. Traps were set briefly in the area.
August 26—Wildlife Services personnel captured m732 of the Red Rock Pack near the Guthrie Peak area in Arizona because of one confirmed and one probable depredation that occurred August 15 in the Black Hills area near Safford. He was also outside the wolf recovery area. He was returned to Sevilleta, and placed with his other three male littermates that were not released with the Red Rock Pack.
MORTALITIES The cause of death for Bluestem Pack yearling m756 found on June 9 in Centerfire Creek in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest could not be determined as the carcass was very decomposed.
It has been confirmed that the Red Rock AM593, found dead June 28 along Highway 60 just east of the New Mexico boarder, was killed by a vehicle.
CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT Surgery was preformed on Red Rock Pack AF613 on August 6 to repair the broken metatarsal bones in her right hind foot that were broken possibly from being stepped on by a large animal such as an elk. She is being held in quarantine at the Albuquerque Zoo for recovery and is doing well.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION
August 16-18—Dan Groebner and Shawna Nelson, along with former members of P.A.WS., assisted in taking down the Campbell Blue chain link acclimation pen. They also erected additional wolf information signs throughout the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona to inform forest users of the presence of wolves. The signs also explain how to avoid conflicts with wolves.
The next Mexican Wolf Adaptive Management Working Group (MW AMWG) meeting will be held on October 3 in Safford, Arizona at beginning at noon (Arizona time). This meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Quality Inn and Suites at 420 East Highway 70 in the Arizona Room. The agenda has not yet been determined.
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 the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife ($5,000 each). 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.