May 1 - 15, 2003
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS The current Mexican wolf population includes 21 radio-collared wolves representing ten packs and one lone wolf. However, next reporting period there will be a total of 9 packs and 2 lone wolves (see WOLF PACK NEWS: Francisco Pack). Based on other data from the field (sightings, tracks, etc.) we believe there is a minimum of 15 additional wolves currently surviving. This does not take into account fate unknown wolves (i.e. pups released prior to 2002 without radio collars, pups born in the wild prior to 2002 that have not been captured/radio collared, and wolves whose radio collars have gone off the air) that may still be free-ranging.
WOLF PACK NEWS
Bluestem Pack (AM507, AF521, m756): Arizona The alpha pair remains in the vicinity of PS Knoll. AM507 has also been located separately southwest of Drift Fence on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. Yearling m756 has been located east of Reservation Lake.
Saddle Pack (AM574, AF510): Arizona The alpha pair has been located in the Chitty Falls area.
Hawk’s Nest Pack (AM619, AF486): Arizona The pair has been located near Sierra Blanca Lake and north of Tenney Mountain. They have also been located in the vicinity of Big Lake and Concho Bill Spring.
Bonito Creek Pack (AM794, AF587): Arizona The pair has been located in the vicinity of Loafer Cienega on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. AM794 has also been located separately northwest of Odart Mountain.
Francisco Pack (AM509, f797): Arizona On May 1, AM509 was captured on the San Carlos Apache Reservation and transferred to the Ladder Ranch wolf facility where he was reunited with the rest of the pack. He was in good physical condition. The pack is being held at Ladder Ranch until they can be relocated. Efforts are still underway to capture f797 to remove her from the San Carlos Apache Reservation.
Yearling f797 has been located southwest of Upper Malay Tank on the San Carlos Apache Reservation and northeast of Dry Prong Tank on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Boundary. She has also been located northwest of Yellow Pine Tank.
Cienega Pack (AM194, AF487, m795): Arizona The alpha pair has been located southeast of Heap Ranch. Yearling m795 has been located northwest of Beaverhead. For about five days, the pack was located south of Alpine. On May 8, project personnel observed four wolves (at least one of which was uncollared) southwest of Alpine. The pack then returned to their original home range and have been located northwest of Beaverhead.
On May 14, during a telemetry flight, project personnel observed three wolves pursuing an elk in a water tank. One wolf would swim towards the elk while the other two would run around to the other side of the tank to cut off potential escape routes. After 30 minutes, the wolves ceased pursuit and rested by the side of the tank. One hour later, project personnel flew back to the site and observed the wolves sleeping near the tank and the cow elk standing near the edge of the tank. Project personnel again returned to the site an hour later and found that both the elk and wolves had left the area.
Cerro Pack (F644): Arizona F644 has been located in the vicinity of Cerro Trigo. On May 14, during a telemetry flight, project personnel observed an uncollared wolf with her. This is the second time that she has formed a natural pair bond. Earlier, she paired with M639 who was killed on March 9 of this year. This pairing, which occurred in less than two months, is an encouraging sign for the population.
Gapiwi Pack (AM584, AF624): New Mexico The pair been has located in the vicinity of Loco Mountain in the Gila National Forest. AM584 has also been located separately northeast of SS Basin.
Luna Pack (AM583, AF562): New Mexico The pair has been located south of Snow Lake, in the vicinity of Cub Mesa as well as near Turkey Feather Pass.
Sycamore Pack (AM648, AF592): New Mexico The pair has been located in the vicinity of Miller Spring and southwest of the Gila Cliff Dwellings. The alpha male has also been located separately southwest of McKenna Park. Project personnel continue to supplementally feed the pair until there is evidence that they are hunting on their own.
Lone Wolves Yearling m796 (formerly of the Cienega Pack) has been located northwest of Carlton Vista and most recently, near Blue Vista.
CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT A litter of four pups was born on May 10 at Sevilleta to F637 and M578.
Francisco AF511 gave birth to a litter of five pups at the Ladder Ranch on May 10.
May 16 – June 30, 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 by visiting the USFWS web site at http://mexicanwolf.fws.gov. Past updates may also be viewed on this website.
Please report any wolf sightings, incidents of take or harassment of wolves, or suspected livestock depredations to: (928) 339-4329, 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. Capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate alpha wolves.
MONITORING As of June 30, there are 29 radio-collared wolves in ten packs (seven packs in Arizona and three in New Mexico) and three lone wolves. Five packs in Arizona (Hawk’s Nest, Cienega, Saddle, Bluestem, and Bonito Creek) and two packs in New Mexico (Gapiwi and Luna) have demonstrated denning behavior. Project personnel are focusing field efforts on documenting pup numbers and monitoring wolves that have recently been translocated or released.....On May 24, project personnel observed three wolves (one collared and two uncollared) from the Cienega Pack pursuing an elk herd. It is suspected that the wolves were not successful bringing down an elk as the pack was not in the area the following day. Project personnel heard at least two pups howling with the adults and subadults of the Cienega pack on June 5. Project personnel observed the Hawk’s Nest Pack alpha pair chasing a black bear off of an elk carcass believed to have been killed by the pack on May 26.....During the telemetry flight on June 2, the Gapiwi Pack was seen on a fresh elk carcass. On June 20, project personnel observed a minimum of two pups from the Gapiwi pack while monitoring the area around their den.....Project personnel observed the Bluestem alpha pair with three uncollared yearlings on June 27.
TRANSLOCATIONS On May 28, an uncollared subadult male (m832) was captured near Turkey Spring on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. He was fitted with a radio collar and released in New Mexico in the Escudilla Mountain area later the same day. He weighed 59 pounds.....On June 24, the Francisco pack (AF511, AM509 and their four yearlings, m798, f799, f800, and m801) was captured at the Ladder Ranch wolf facility. The wolves were packed in on mules to the Miller Springs area in the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico and placed in a mesh pen on June 25. The wolves were released from the pen on June 26. Yearling f797, the only Francisco pack wolf not removed from the San Carlos Reservation, remains in the packs former territory and recently has been traveling on the National Forest.
NEW RELEASES On June 13, AM593 and AF613 and two yearlings (m729 and m732) were captured from the Sevilleta wolf facility and transferred to the Maness Peak area in Arizona and placed in a mesh pen. The pack is named the Red Rock Pack. The wolves chewed out of the pen the following day. The alpha female and yearling m729 remain in the vicinity of the pen while AM593 traveled to the Coyote Hills area east of Springerville (see “Mortalities” for more information). The other yearling, m732, traveled approximately 70 miles from the release pen on to the White Mountain Apache Reservation.
CONTROL On May 27, project personnel lethally removed AF592 of the Sycamore Pack from the Rafter Spear Ranch allotment in New Mexico after aversive conditioning and trapping attempts were unsuccessful. Since her release on May 19, AF592 was involved in three confirmed depredations on the ranch. In addition, she had a prior history of cattle depredations while she was free ranging in 2001. This was the first lethal control action on a wolf since the program’s inception in 1998.
INCIDENTS On May 29, while project personnel were monitoring for an uncollared wolf near a sheep ranch, two ranch hands informed project personnel of a dead lamb. Wildlife Services personnel responded to the report and confirmed that the lamb was killed by a wolf. Project personnel placed traps in the area in an attempt to capture and collar the wolf. However, they were unsuccessful and the traps were removed due to the absence of wolf sign. Trapping may be resumed at a later time if additional wolf sign or depredations are found in the area.
MORTALITIES Yearling m756 of the Bluestem Pack was found dead on June 9 in Centerfire Creek on the Apache National Forest in Arizona. The cause of his death is unknown and is under investigation.....AM593, of the recently released Red Rock Pack, was found dead on June 28 along Highway 60 just east of the New Mexico border. Preliminary evidence suggests that a vehicle struck the wolf; however, the cause of death is under investigation.
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). Investigations into the following illegal killings are ongoing:
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.
The reintroduction project is a multi-agency cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), USDA-Wildlife Services (USDA-WS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Turner Endangered Species Fund (TESF), the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT), and the San Carlos Apache Tribe (SCAT).