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2015 Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area Summary
At the end of 2015 at least 97 wolves occupied the Mexican Wolf Recovery Area (MWRA). This represents a 12% decrease from the 2014 minimum population count of 110. Fourteen of the twenty-one packs documented in the MWRA exhibited denning behavior, and pups were observed in twelve of those packs. By year's end, seven of these packs met the definition of a breeding pair. During 2015, 42 pups were documented during the summer and fall, and 23 were documented to have survived at year's end. Average pack size was 4.3, and an average of 1.64 pups survived per denning pack. This marks the fourteenth consecutive year in which wild born wolves bred and raised pups in the wild. In addition, all documented wolves in the population were wild-born.
Nine natural pairings of breeding age wolves in the MWRA population occurred in 2015. The natural pairings of dispersing or single wolves resulted in the designation of four new packs: Panther Creek, Buckalou, Bearwallow, and Marble. In addition, breeding animals were replaced in three other packs: Hoodoo, Mangas, and Fox Mountain. M1161/f1332 paired in January, but f1332 was discovered dead before they were designated a pack. M1284/f1392 paired in late 2015.
At the conclusion of the 2015 end-of-year count, 48 of the documented 97 wolves living in the MWRA, were equipped with radio-collars (49% of the known population). Several Mexican 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 one soft release of a pair of wolves (wild born AF1305 with naïve M1130). Early in the year the Rim pack consisted of two siblings traveling together (AF1305 and m1336). The IFT captured and placed them into captivity to prevent their breeding with one another. In an effort to pair-bond AF1305 with another male she was placed with M1130 from the captive population. On April 24, AF1305 was translocated with M1130 (an initial release) into a soft release pen within the Rim Pack territory.
The IFT documented 13 mortalities of free-ranging wolves in 2015, including five adults, five subadults, and three pups. This is an 18% increase from documented free-ranging wolf mortalities (11) in 2014.
Home ranges were calculated for 18 packs or individuals exhibiting territorial behavior. The 95% fixed kernel method produced an average home range size of 376 mi2, with home ranges varying from 83 mi2 to 1673 mi2.
Native prey used by wolves consisted primarily of elk; however, there were also 49 confirmed fatal livestock depredations. In addition, five dogs were confirmed to have been injured by wolves.
In 2015, the IFT analyzed 41 reports of wolf sightings from the public; 90% of these reports were non-wolf sightings (coyote, dogs, deer, etc.), and 10% were likely uncollared/unknown wolves. The IFT searched 18 areas in and around the MWRA for new wolf presence, and documented wolves in 5 of those areas.
Project personnel provided 19 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, biweekly contacts were made to cooperating agencies and stakeholders. Endangered Species Updates containing current project and recovery program information went out to an average of 19,128 people a month.
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
2015 and Earlier Reports
A Luna pack wolf in the winter of 2011