Blue Range Wolf Reintroduction Area (BRWRA) Monthly Project Updates
Latest BRWRA Monthly Project Update
Update Submitted: March 31, 2014
Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update February 1-28, 2014
The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF). Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA). Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf. Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting http://www.azgfd.gov/signup. This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).
To view weekly wolf telemetry flight location information or the 3-month wolf distribution map, please visit http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf. On the home page, go to the “Wolf Location Information” heading on the right side of the page near the top and scroll to the specific location information you seek.
Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653. To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD 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 their history. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 24 months or pups. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate breeding wolves.
Definitions: A “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established territory. In the event that one of the two alpha (dominant) wolves dies, the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack status. The packs referenced in this update contain at least one wolf with a radio telemetry collar attached to it. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs. If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS At the end of February 2014, the collared population consisted of 50 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 13 packs and five single wolves.
IN ARIZONA: Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, m1275, mp1330, mp1331, fp1332, fp1333, fp1339, fp1340 and M1341) During February, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. All collared wolves in Bluestem Pack have remained together throughout the month. On February 15, the IFT observed m1275 and fp1332 together. The rest of the collared members of Bluestem were nearby in Campbell Blue creek. The IFT is documenting predation rates with the Bluestem Pack. The study started February 15, and will conclude March 15.
Elk Horn Pack (collared AM1287 and F1294) During February, the IFT located this pack traveling in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona. The two wolves were documented traveling together throughout the month.
Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, f1280) During February, the IFT documented these wolves using their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF.
Paradise Pack (collared AF1056 and M1249) In January, AF1056 and M1249 were captured. Wolf AF1056 was permanently removed to captivity per a USFWS removal order issued in September for depredations occurring during the summer of 2013. Wolf M1249 was temporarily removed to captivity where it has been paired with a genetically valuable female wolf to promote pair-bonding and potential breeding. The IFT plans to release this pair into the wild in the spring of 2014. M1249 and the captive female F1126 will not be called the Paradise Pack, as stated in last month’s update. The IFT will designate a new pack name, to identify these animals as a newly formed pair and prevent future confusion by associating them, by name, to wolves that were previously removed from the wild.
Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and f1305) Throughout February, the IFT located AM1107 and f1305 using the south-central portion of the ASNF.
ON THE FAIR: Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, m1290, f1291, f1335, m1342 and mp1336) In February, the Maverick Pack traveled throughout their traditional territory; between the FAIR and the south central portion of ASNF. The IFT captured m1290 during the annual helicopter survey in January. m1290 was temporarily moved to a holding pen where it has been paired with a captive female F1218 to promote pair-bonding and potential breeding. The pair will be released within the primary recovery zone in Arizona in April 2014.
Tsay-O-Ah Pack (collared AM1253 and f1283) During February, the IFT located AM1253 on the FAIR. Wolf f1283 has left the Tsay-O-Ah Pack in January and has been located traveling with M1343 on the FAIR this month.
Single (collared M1343) During February, M1343 has been traveling with f1283 from the Tsay-O-Ah Pack on the FAIR
IN NEW MEXICO: Canyon Creek Pack (collared M1252 and F1246) During February, the IFT located these wolves traveling together in the central portion of the GNF. The IFT documented one uncollared wolf in this pack in January.
Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923 and M1293) Throughout February, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF. The IFT has documented dispersal behavior in M1293. The wolf has periodically been located separate from the Dark Canyon Pack in February.
Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212, and M1276) During February, the IFT documented these wolves traveling in the northwest portion of the GNF. The Fox Mountain pack continued to make movements outside of their traditional territory and into a neighboring pack’s territory. M1276 continued to display dispersal behavior and was often located separate from the pack. Several depredations occurred within the traditional Fox Mountain pack territory while the collared members of the pack were not in the area; thus, the IFT believes that not all members of the Fox Mountain pack are travelling together and that an uncollared wolf or wolves, loosely associated with the Fox Mountain pack was/were responsible for the depredations. In response to the multiple depredations, the USFWS issued a removal order for an uncollared wolf loosely associated with the Fox Mountain pack.
Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, m1284, m1285, m1286 and m1337) In February, the IFT located the alpha pair in their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. m1285 and m1286 have been located separate from the adult wolves throughout February, but have periodically traveled back into the Luna Pack territory. m1284 and m1337 were typically located separate from the alpha pair, but were independently located with the alpha pair at least once.
Prieto Pack (collared F1251) Throughout February, the IFT located this wolf in the north-central portion of the GNF.
San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157, AF903, m1282 and f1327) In February, the IFT located AM1157 and AF903 in the packs traditional territory in the northern portion of the GNF. The San Mateo juveniles have dispersed from the main pack and have been traveling with other single wolves. m1282 dispersed outside of the BRWRA and is now traveling with single wolf f1295. The IFT documented f1327 traveling with single wolf M1296 in the northern portion of the GNF and outside the BRWRA in New Mexico.
Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, mp1329 and mp1338) During February, the Willow Springs Pack used their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT documented two uncollared pups on a remote camera this month. Two of the three uncollared wolves are thought to be pups of the year that were missed during the population count. They will be added as an addendum to the 2013 population count.
M1240 (collared) The IFT documented this wolf traveling through the south-central portion of the GNF. M1240 had been located with f1278 at the end of January. M1240 was located separate from f1278 at the beginning of February possibly due to the Luna juveniles being in the area. At the end of February M1240 and f1278 were located together again.
f1278 (collared) The IFT documented f1278 traveling in the south-central portion of the GNF. The IFT has located f1278 with three different Luna Pack male wolves in February. At the end of February f1278 was located with single male M1240.
f1295 (collared) In February, f1295 was located traveling with m1282 from the San Mateo Pack outside of the BRWRA. The IFT will attempt to capture these wolves for boundary issues and relocate them back into the BRWRA.
M1296 (collared) In February, the IFT located this wolf traveling with f1327 from the San Mateo Pack in the northeastern portion of the GNF and outside the BRWRA in New Mexico.
MORTALITIES No mortalities were documented this month.
INCIDENTS During February, there were six livestock depredation reports involving eleven cattle and no nuisance reports in the BRWRA. On February 1, Wildlife Services investigated four dead cows near Toriette, New Mexico. Three of the four cows were confirmed as being killed by wolves. On February 2, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Toriette, New Mexico. The cause of death was unknown. On February 4, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows near Toriette, New Mexico. The cause of death was unknown. On February 11, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow just north of the BRWRA, in New Mexico. The cause of death was confirmed as being killed by a wolf. On February 24, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Toriette, New Mexico. The cause of death was determined to be natural causes. On February 28, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows near Escondido Mountain, New Mexico. The cause of death was unknown.
CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT No significant activity occurred during the month of February.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION On February 20, the Middle Management Team conducted for the Mexican wolf reintroduction project conducted a meeting in Holbrook, Arizona.
PROJECT PERSONNEL No significant activity to report.
REWARDS OFFERED The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AGFD Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000; and the NMDGF is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican wolves. A variety of non-governmental organizations and private individuals have pledged an additional $46,000 for a total reward amount of up to $58,000, depending on the information provided. Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: USFWS special agents in Mesa, Arizona, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, Arizona, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at (505) 346-7828; the WMAT at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; AGFD Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700; or NMDGF Operation Game Thief at (800) 432-4263. Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000, and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.