March 1 - 15, 2003
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS The current Mexican wolf population includes 24 radio-collared wolves representing 8 packs and 1 lone wolf. Based on other data from the field (sightings, tracks, etc.) we believe there is a minimum of 16 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 Bluestem pack has been located on the White Mountain Apache Reservation near Pacheta Creek; east of Paddy Butte on an elk carcass; east of Pair O Dice Cienega where four wolves were observed by project personnel; north of Pacheta Falls; east of Paddy Butte; east of Ten of Diamonds Ranch; as well as west of the Maverick Fire Station.
Saddle Pack (AM574, AF510): Arizona The alpha pair has been located near McBride Canyon; east of Dry Prong Creek; and southwest of Blue Vista.
Hawk’s Nest Pack (AM619, AF486): Arizona The pack has been located west-northwest of Campbell Flat; along Boneyard Creek; northwest of Rogers Marsh on an elk kill. On March 9th two, possibly three, wolves were observed by project personnel northwest of Rodgers Marsh. The pack has also been located near the 191 Hwy/403 Rd junction; west of Campbell Flat and near the Buffalo Crossing Campground. On March 15th, the Hawk’s Nest was located south-southwest of Campbell Flat and less than a mile from the Cienega Pack.
Bonito Creek Pack (AM794, AF587): Arizona AF587 and M794 remain together and have been located east of Bonito Prairie and northeast of Upper Corn Creek Tank on the White Mountain Apache Reservation.
Cienega Pack (AM194, AF487, m795, m796): Arizona Project personnel in the vicinity of Buffalo Crossing observed the alpha pair, m795, and two other wolves. The pack has also been located east and northwest of Carlton Vista; southeast of Crow Poison near Coleman Creek; in the Campbell Blue drainage; and west of the Luce Ranch on the Campbell Blue on an elk kill. On March 15th, Cienega was located less than a mile northwest of the Hawk’s Nest Pack.....m796 was located separately from the rest of the pack northwest of Moonshine Park; northwest of Carlton Vista as well as east and southeast of Beaverhead.
Francisco Pack (AM509, AF511, f797, m798, f799, m801): Arizona F511, M509 and f797 were located east-northeast of Loafer Tank on the San Carlos Apache Reservation while m798, f799 and m801 were located north of Robinson Mesa on the Apache National Forest. The entire pack has also been located east-northeast of Loafer Tank; west-northwest of BS Gap; and east of Malay Tank on the Apache National Forest. On March 5th and 7th, the pack was observed on a cow carcass east of Loafer Tank. Wildlife Services personnel investigated the carcass and found no evidence to support that the cow was killed by wolves.
Gapiwi Pack (AM584, AF624): New Mexico The alpha pair has been located on Aeroplane Mesa; north-northeast of Yellow Mountain and north of Loco Mountain in the Gila National Forest.
Luna Pack (AM583, AF562): New Mexico The alpha pair has been located west of the Gila Cliff Dwellings as well as in Ring Canyon near the confluence of the West Fork River in the Gila National Forest.
Cerro Pack (F644, M639): Arizona These “Dispersal” wolves formed what project personnel believed was a pack. F644 and M639 were seen running together in the vicinity of approximately 75 elk northwest of Cerro Trigo. The pair has also been located northeast of Antelope Mountain; east of Cerro Trigo and near the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Grassland’s Ranch. On March 5th, they were seen on an elk kill and on March 6th, project personnel observed a wolf from this pair chasing a coyote.....On March 9th, M639 was found dead in the vicinity of Cerro Montoso, which is approximately six miles east of Vernon, Arizona. The cause of his death is under investigation. Project personnel observed F644 on March 10th at which time she appeared to be in good physical condition. It is still too early to know if the pair successfully had bred. Since the death of her mate, F644 has remained in the area and has been located southwest of Cerro Montoso as well as several miles south of Vernon.
SEASONAL NEWS The Interagency Field Team is currently conducting a winter predation study that began March 3rd and will continue until March 21st. The study consists of project personnel flying on a daily basis to identify wolf-killed ungulates from the air and patterns related to those kills. To date, the IFT has located five kills among the three packs that are part of the study. This is a pilot study to assess the feasibility of incorporating these methods into future winter studies.
CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT On March 6th, a tumor was removed from F166 at the Ladder Ranch from under her left rear nipple. It was sent out for biopsy and are waiting for the results.
INCIDENTS On March 9th, M639 was found dead in the vicinity of Cerro Montoso, which is approximately six miles east of Vernon, Arizona. The cause of his death is under investigation.....On March 5th and 7th, the Francisco pack was observed on a cow carcass east of Loafer Tank. Wildlife Services personnel investigated the carcass and found no evidence to support that the cow was killed by wolves.
March 15 – 31, 2003
This is a brief summary of current information about the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program in Arizona and New Mexico. Additional information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or (505) 248-6652 or by visiting our web site, http://mexicanwolf.fws.gov. Call (928) 339-4329 or toll-free at (888) 459-9653 to report suspected livestock depredations, incidents of take or harassment of wolves, or wolf sightings. The reintroduction 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 Turner Endangered Species Fund (TESF), and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).
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.
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS The current Mexican wolf population includes 23 radio-collared wolves representing 8 packs and one lone wolf. Based on data from the field (sightings, tracks, etc.) we believe there is a minimum of 16 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 Bluestem pack has been located southeast of the Black River and Snake Creek confluence on the Apache National Forest, in the Hoodoo Knoll area, as well as around Rose Spring on the Apache National Forest boundary. Two wolves were observed during the March 21 telemetry flight.
Saddle Pack (AM574, AF510): Arizona The pair has been located west of Sheep Saddle and north of Baldy Bill Point as well as near Blue Peak. Both wolves were observed on March 20 near a carcass.
Hawk’s Nest Pack (AM619, AF486): Arizona The pair has been located in the Campbell Blue Drainage near the Cienega Creek confluence and northwest of Three Forks. They have also been located in the vicinity of Sierra Blanca Lake. One wolf from this pack was observed next to a carcass on March 20 and both were observed the next day during the telemetry flight.
Bonito Creek Pack (AM794, AF587): Arizona The alpha pair has been located in the vicinity of Bones Canyon. The pair was also located northwest of Brushy Mountain on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. Project personnel observed three wolves on March 19.
Cienega Pack (AM194, AF487, m795, m796): Arizona The alpha pair and m795 were located east of the Coleman and Canyon Creek confluence. The pack has also been located northwest of Bardman Canyon and Beaver Creek, as well as near the Hannagan and Beaver Creek confluence. Project personnel observed 5 wolves on March 21 during the telemetry flight. Pup m796 has made dispersal movements from the pack and has been located southeast of Escudilla Mountain.
Francisco Pack (AM509, AF511, f797, m798, f799, m801): Arizona Six wolves were observed during the March 19 telemetry flight northwest of the Dry Prong Windmill on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. The pack has also been located northwest of Malay Gap on the White Mountain Apache Reservation.....Project personnel are still attempting to trap and remove the pack from the reservation at the tribe’s request. On March 29, m798 was captured near Malay Gap. He was taken to the Ladder Ranch captive wolf facility and paired with his littermate f800 (previously captured on January 19). They are being held there until other pack members are captured and the pack can be relocated.
Gapiwi Pack (AM584, AF624): New Mexico The alpha pair has been located northeast of Yellow Mountain in the Gila Wilderness and north of Snow Lake in the Gila National Forest. On March 24, project personnel observed two wolves near a small herd of cows; they successfully hazed them out of the area.
Luna Pack (AM583, AF562): New Mexico The alpha pair has been located near White Rocks Canyon and northwest of Miller Springs in the Gila National Forest. Two wolves were seen during the March 20 telemetry flight.
Cerro Pack (F644): Arizona F644 has been located in the vicinity of Antelope Mountain, Cerro Montoso, and Cerro Trigo. The cause of death for her mate, M639, is still under investigation.
SEASONAL NEWS The project completed a three week period of intensive wolf monitoring to determine if such monitoring is feasible to characterize and quantify wolf kills as part of the annual field effort. Nine kills from four packs (Cerro, Bluestem, Cienega and Hawk’s Nest) were located by air, six of which were investigated (the other three kills were in inaccessible locations). Of these six, four were elk calves, one an adult bull elk with a possible ligament injury, and a deer that the cause of death was undetermined. The three inaccessible carcasses could be confirmed from the air as elk, although the cause of death was not confirmed from the ground. During the monitoring period, the Cerro pack made one kill on March 5, then the alpha male was found dead four days later, thus decreasing the energetic requirements for this pack. Because of this, the field team suspects that the pack killed fewer prey than it would have under normal conditions.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION On April 7, Brian Kelly will present an overview of the Mexican gray wolf program to a delegation from Africa’s Kruger National Park that will be visiting the Long-Term Ecological Research Station at Sevilleta National Wildife Refuge.
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:
· Campbell Blue alpha female, AF174, was shot on August 7, 1998, in the Williams Valley area near Alpine, Arizona. · Hawk’s Nest male, m532, was found dead from gunshot wounds near the Arizona/New Mexico state line on November 7, 1998. · Hawk’s Nest male, m531, was found dead from gunshot wounds on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation on November 23, 1998. · Francisco yearling male, m590, was found dead from gunshot wounds on December 18, 2000 approximately ½ mile north of Highway 12 in the Apache National Forest’s Divide wood cutting area near Aragon, New Mexico. · Saddle Pack yearling female, f645, was found dead from gunshot wounds on November 5, 2001 near Forest Road 117, south of Highway 60, in the Greens Peak area near Vernon, Arizona. · Lupine Pack alpha female, AF169, was found dead from gunshot wounds on November 15, 2001 near Maverick Mountain on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. · Lupine yearling male, m630, was found dead from gunshot wounds December 3, 2001, 18 miles northwest of Springerville, south of Highway 60 in Apache County, Arizona. · Lupine yearling F634 was found dead from gunshot wounds on December 7, 2001at the Woods Canyon Lake area in Arizona. · Bonito Creek AM674 was found dead from gunshot wounds on October 22, 2002 on the White Mountain Apache Reservation near Loafer Cienega. · Saddle Pack F646was found dead from gunshot wounds in Arizona on December 3, 2002 near the 25 Road and Highway 191.
Individuals with information they believe may be helpful should call one of these agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents in Mesa, AZ at (480) 967-7900 or Pinetop at (928) 367-5689; the White Mountain Apache Tribe at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; Arizona Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700; or New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263.
The killing of a Mexican gray wolf is a violation of Federal and State’s of Arizona and New Mexico laws. Violations of the Federal Endangered Species Act can invoke criminal penalties of up to $25,000 and /or six months in jail, or a civic penalty of up to $10,000.