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2014 Mexican Wolf Recovery Area Summary
At the end of 2014 at least 110 wolves occupied Mexican Wolf Recovery Area (MWRA). This represents a 33% increase over the 2013 minimum population count of 83. Sixteen of the nineteen packs documented in the MWRA exhibited denning behavior, and pups were observed in fourteen of those packs. By year's end, eight of these packs met the definition of a breeding pair (including one pack that met the definition of an operational breeding pair). During 2014, 45 pups were documented during the summer and fall, and 39 were documented to have survived at year's end. Average pack size was 4.2, and an average of 2.44 pups survived per denning pack. This marks the thirteenth consecutive year in which wild born wolves bred and raised pups in the wild. Of the 19 known packs at the end of 2014, 18 formed naturally in the wild and all packs were composed of wild-born wolves.
Seven natural pairings were documented in 2014. Dispersing wolves F1283 and AM1249 paired with uncollared wolves, which resulted in the continuation of the Tsay O Ah pack, and designation of the Tse ighan lige (Diamond) pack, respectively. Dispersing wolf M1345 from the Fox Mountain pack joined AF903 of the San Mateo pack following the death of San Mateo AM1157. Dispersing wolf M1336 joined AF1305 of the Rim pack following the death of Rim AM1107. AM1107 died as a result of interspecific competition. Dispersing wolf M1296 paired with F1327 from the San Mateo pack which resulted in the formation of the Mangas pack. Two dispersing wolves, M1240 and F1278, formed the Iron Creek pack. Following the translocation of the Lava pack (AF1295 and AM1282) into the Gila Wilderness, the pair split up, and M1282 returned to his natal pack of San Mateo. Subsequently, dispersing wolf M1285 from the Luna pack, paired up with AF1295 effectively joining the Lava pack. At the conclusion of the 2014 end-of-year count, 55 of the documented 110 wolves living in the MWRA, were equipped with radio-collars (50% of the known population). Seventeen of the 55 wolves were fitted with GPS/ARGOS satellite telemetry collars. These radio collars use satellite technology to record accurate wolf locations on a frequent basis. This information can be used by biologists to gain timely information pertaining to many facets of wolf behavior such as dispersal, territory use, predation data, and denning behavior.
The IFT conducted two initial releases and 12 translocations in 2014. Of the 14 wolves released or translocated, eight (M1051, M1249, M1290, F1295, mp1350, two uncollared pups associated with the Coronado pack, and one uncollared pup cross-fostered into the Dark Canyon pack den) remained in the wild at the end of 2014. F1218 was released and paired with M1290. They did not remain together; M1290 traveled north alone and F1218 was illegally shot in May. F1126 was released pregnant and paired with M1249. They did not remain together; F1126 whelped six pups in the wild and was subsequently removed from the wild to increase the likelihood of pup survival. F1126 was later translocated with M1051 and four of the pups whelped in the wild (fp1348, mp1349, mp1350, and mp1351) as the Coronado pack. AM1051, mp1350 and two uncollared pups survived to year end; AF1126 was located dead in December the cause of death is still under investigation. Two pups (fp1346 and mp1347) whelped by AF1126 in the wild were translocated into the Dark Canyon pack's den in the IFT's first attempt at cross-fostering. At least one pup (mp1347) was known to be alive at year-end; all pups, including fp1346, were known to be alive through August. F1295 was translocated with M1282, designated the Lava pack, into the Gila Wilderness. The pair did not stay together; F1295 remained in the wilderness and subsequently joined with Single M1285. This pair retained the Lava pack designation. M1282 returned to his natal pack of San Mateo and was last located in October.
The IFT documented 11 mortalities of free-ranging wolves in 2014, including ten adults and one pup. This is a 57% increase from documented free-ranging wolf mortalities (7) in 2013.
Home ranges were calculated for 20 packs or individuals exhibiting territorial behavior. The average home range size was of 233 mi2, with home ranges varying from 106 mi2 to 469 mi2. Mexican wolves occupied 7,255 mi2 of the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) during 2014. In comparison, Mexican wolves occupied 5,791 mi2 of the MWEPA during 2013, resulting in a 25% increase of occupied area.
Native prey used by wolves consisted primarily of elk; however, there were also 30 confirmed livestock depredations (fatal). In addition, two injured dogs and four injured horses were confirmed to have been caused by wolves.
The IFT analyzed 57 reports of wolf sightings from the public. In response to these sightings, the IFT searched 1593 miles of roads, trails, and canyons looking for unknown wolves in and around the Mexican Wolf Recovery Area. As a result, the IFT was successful in documenting one single wolf, one pair of wolves, and one group of three wolves in Arizona and one single wolf, one pair of wolves, and one group of four wolves in New Mexico.
Project personnel provided 17 presentations and status reports to approximately 2,388 people in federal and state agencies, conservation groups, rural and urban communities, guide/outfitter organizations, livestock associations, schools, fairs, and various other public and private institutions. In addition, 5,824 weekly contacts were made to cooperating agencies and stakeholders. Endangered Species Updates containing current project and recovery program information went out to an average of 19,000 people a month.
Operational breeding pair: an adult male and an adult female that have produced at least two pups during the previous breeding season and of which at least 2 pups survived until December 31 of the year of their birth, despite the loss and replacement of at least one biological parent of the offspring. This is a modification of the "Breeding pair" definition per the 1998 Final 10j Rule, to include pairs where alphas (one or both of the breeding adults in a pack) have been replaced but are functioning as a biological unit with a high probability of breeding success in the subsequent year.
Mexican Wolf Blue Range Recovery Area
|Pack Name||Adults/Sub-adults||Pup Count at Year's End||Total|
|Fort Apache Indian Reservation(FAIR)||N/Aa||N/Aa||N/Aa|
|San Carlos Apache Reservation(SCAR)||N/Aa||N/Aa||N/Aa|
a Wolf numbers on FAIR and SCAR are proprietary and therefore not displayed
b Totals include wolves occurring on FAIR and SCAR
Mexican Wolf Recovery Program: Progress Reports
2014 and Earlier Reports
A Luna pack wolf in the winter of 2011