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Arizona Game and Fish Department

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project
Monthly Update - June1-30, 2017

The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project)
activities in the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) in Arizona, including the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), San Carlos Apache Reservation (SCAR), and New Mexico. 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
www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at 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.

This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The 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 semi-monthly wolf telemetry flight location information please visit bit.do/mexicanwolf or www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/RWL.cfm.

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.

Overall Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update

The Fish and Wildlife Service published the draft Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision for public review and comment and for peer review on June 30, 2017. The public comment period closes August 29, 2017. Comments must be submitted in writing by either of the following methods, or at the public meetings (see below):
Electronically: Go to www.regulations.gov and enter FWS-R2-ES-2017-0036
Or
Hard copy: Submit by US mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2017-0036, US Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

The Fish and Wildlife Service will hold information meetings to provide the public with information on the draft recovery plan. Written comments on the draft recovery plan may be submitted at these meetings (oral comments will not be recorded). The dates and times of these information meetings are as follows:

Flagstaff, AZ: July 18, 2017 (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.): Northern Arizona University, Prochnow Auditorium, South Knowles Drive, Flagstaff, AZ 86001.

Pinetop, AZ: July 19, 2017 (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.): Hon-Dah Resort, 777 AZ-260, Pinetop, AZ 85935.

Truth or Consequences, NM: July 20, 2017 (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.): Ralph Edwards Auditorium, Civic Center, 400 West Fourth, Truth or Consequences, NM 87901.

Albuquerque, NM: July 22, 2017 (2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.): Crowne Plaza Albuquerque, 1901 University Boulevard NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has also made available the Draft Biological Report and two supporting analyses – “Population Viability Analysis for the Mexican Wolf” and “Mexican Wolf Habitat Suitability Analysis in Historical Range in Southwestern US and Mexico,” to the public as supplemental background information during the public comment period. These documents, as well as the draft Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision are available at: www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/MWRP.cfm.


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

Annual surveys are conducted in the winter as this is when the population experiences the least amount of natural fluctuation (i.e. in the spring the population increases dramatically with the birth of new pups and declines throughout the summer and fall as mortality is particularly high on young pups). Thus, the IFT summarizes the total number of wolves in the winter at a fairly static or consistent time of year. This allows for comparable year-to-year trends at a time of year that accounts for most mortality and survival of young pups.

During annual year-end population counts, the IFT documented a minimum of 113 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico at the end of 2016. At the end of June, there were 58 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring.

Wolves with functioning radio collars are listed by studbook number in the pack updates below.


IN ARIZONA:

Bear Wallow Pack (collared AM1338 and AF1335)
In June, the Bear Wallow Pack was located within their traditional territory on the SCAR and in the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF). They have displayed localized behavior consistent with denning. Pups were documented with the Bear Wallow Pack in June.

Bluestem Pack (collared F1489, f1562, and f1563)
In June, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. Male 1574 is showing dispersal behavior and has been traveling with the Panther Creek Pack. Female 1562 has been traveling alone and is now considered a single animal. The IFT documented AF1042, AM1341, F1489, and f1563 localized in a den area during June.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, m1471, m1474, and f1473)
In June, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north eastern portion of the ASNF. The pack displayed behavior consistent with denning during the month of June. Pups were documented with the Elk Horn Pack in June.

Frieborn Pack (collared F1443 and m1447)
In June, F1443 and m1447 were documented within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF in Arizona and into New Mexico. They have displayed localized behavior consistent with denning in June. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache for this pack to reduce potential for livestock depredations.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038)
The Hawks Nest Pack consists of one collared wolf, AM1038. AM1038 was located traveling alone in the traditional territory of the Diamond pack in the northern portion of the ASNF in June.

Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290, AF1333, and f1550)
In June, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. The pack displayed behavior consistent with denning during the month of June. The IFT is conducting prey carcass investigations as part of a kill rate study for the Hoodoo Pack during the month of June. Pups were documented with the Hoodoo Pack in June.

Maverick Pack (collared AF1291)
In June, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF.

Panther Creek Pack (collared AF1339, AM1382, and m1574)
In June, the Panther Creek Pack was located in the east central portion of the ASNF. Male yearling 1574 from the Bluestem Pack has been traveling with Panther Creek for three months and is now considered part of the pack. Male yearling 1486 has been documented traveling in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. Male yearling 1483 has been traveling between Arizona and New Mexico, and female yearling 1484 has been traveling mostly alone in Arizona, occasionally traveling with mp1483. Yearlings m1483, f1484, and m1486 have been traveling separately from the rest of the pack for three months and are now each considered single animals. The breeding pair continues to display localized behavior consistent with denning. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache for this pack to reduce potential for livestock depredations and supplement cross-fostered pups.

Prime Canyon Pack (collared F1488)
In June, F1488 and an unknown collared wolf continue to travel together within a territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF. This pack has not displayed denning behavior.

Saffel Pack (collared AF1567)
In June, the Saffel Pack was located in the north central portion of the ASNF, north of the traditional territory of the Hoodoo Pack. The pack has displayed behavior consistent with denning during the month of June. A diversionary food cache was maintained by the IFT for this pack in effort to avoid conflict with cattle in the area. Pups were documented with the Saffel Pack in June.

Single collared m1483
Male 1483 made wide dispersal movements between Arizona and New Mexico in June.

Single collared f1484
Female 1484 has been traveling alone in Arizona at the southern edge of Panther Creek territory during June.

Single collared f1562
Female 1562 has been making wide dispersal movements to the northeast of Bluestem’s traditional territory.

ON THE FAIR:

Diamond Pack (collared f1557, m1559, f1560, m1571, and m1572)
In June, the Diamond Pack was located in their traditional territory on the FAIR and in the northern portion of the ASNF. Male yearling 1572 has been documented traveling apart from the Diamond Pack. The IFT initiated and maintained a diversionary food cache on the ASNF for the Diamond Pack to reduce potential for further wolf-livestock conflict.

Tsay-O-Ah Pack (collared AM1343 and AF1283)
In June, the Tsay-O-Ah Pack was located within their traditional territory on the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, AF1278, and m1556)
During June, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF). The IFT confirmed pups with the Iron Creek Pack in May and continued to observe denning behavior.

Lava Pack (collared F1405 and AM1285)
During June, the Lava Pack was located within their traditional territory in the south eastern portion of the GNF. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache to reduce the potential for wolf-livestock conflicts. The Lava Pack continued to display behavior consistent with denning.

Leopold Pack (collared AM1293, AF1346, and m1561)
During June, the IFT documented the Leopold Pack within their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness.

Luna Pack (collared AM1158 and AF1487)
During June, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the Gila National Forest. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache to reduce potential for livestock depredations. The Luna Pack continued to display behavior consistent with denning. Pups were documented with the Luna Pack in June.

Mangas Pack (collared M1296 and F1439)
During June, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in the north western portion of the GNF. The Mangas pack continued to display behavior consistent with denning.

Dark Canyon (collared F1444 and M1386)
During June, F1444 and M1386 were documented traveling together within the west central portions of the GNF. The IFT continued to monitor for denning behavior in June.

Copper Creek (collared F1456 and M1354)
During June, F1456 and M1354 were documented traveling together within the west central portions of the GNF. The IFT continued to monitor for denning behavior in June.

Prieto Pack (collared AF1251, M1398, and f1565)
During June, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The Prieto Pack has continued to display denning behavior. A supplemental food cache was established in May to reduce the potential for wolf-livestock conflicts and was utilized by the Prieto Pack in June.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF1399)
During June, the San Mateo Pack continued to utilize their territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT maintained a supplemental food cache to assist the pack’s care for the genetically diverse litter of pups. Visual observations documented two adults and two pups; however, remote cameras have documented at least one uncollared yearling traveling with the alphas.

Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared AM1284 and F1553)
During June, the SBP Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT confirmed pups with the SBP pack in May, and the pack continued to display denning behavior during the month of June. The IFT established a diversionary food cache in June to reduce the potential for wolf-livestock conflicts. The food cache has been utilized by the SBP pack.

Single collared AM1155
During June, AM1155 was documented traveling within New Mexico.

Single collared M1455
During June, M1455 traveled throughout central to east-central portions of the GNF.

Single collared M1552
During June, M1552 traveled throughout northeastern portions of the GNF and central portions of the Cibola National Forest (CNF).

Single collared m1569
During June, m1569 traveled throughout northern and central portions of the CNF.

Single collared m1486
During June, m1486, a yearling disperser from the Panther Creek Pack, traveled throughout northern and central portions of the CNF.

MORTALITIES

There were no mortalities documented during the month of June.

INCIDENTS

During the month of June, there was one confirmed wolf depredation on livestock and two nuisance reports.

On June 7, the IFT fielded three reports of wolves being observed in a residential area of Alpine, AZ. The reports stated that two collared wolves had been observed multiple times over a two day period beginning on June 6 in the Alpine Village East area near houses. The larger of the two wolves was described as exhibiting a lack of fear of humans. The IFT investigated the reports and determined the Prime Canyon Pack was responsible for the sightings. The IFT determined the Prime Canyon Pack had killed an elk in the area. No wolf interactions with pets or livestock were suspected. On June 8, the IFT located the Prime Canyon Pack south of Alpine and hazed the male with less than lethal rubber bullets. The IFT attempted to haze the Prime Canyon pack again on multiple occasions from June 9 through June 13, and each time was unable to get close enough to haze with less than lethal due to the wolves moving off when the IFT approached.

On June 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf had been killed by wolves.

On June 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cause of death was unknown.

On June 29, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf had been killed as a result of being struck by a vehicle.

On June 30, a collared wolf was observed near a residence in Alpine Village East. The wolf retreated when the homeowner walked outside. The IFT responded to the report, investigated and determined the sighting was of f1483, a yearling disperser from the Panther Creek Pack.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On June 10, the AGFD attended the annual Cochise Graham Cattle Growers Association meeting in Wilcox, AZ and provided an update on Mexican wolf reintroduction efforts in Arizona.

On June 10, a member of the IFT talked to a group of homeowners in Alpine about recent wolf sightings, Mexican wolf biology/behavior, allowable forms of take within the final 10j rule and IFT management actions for nuisance wolf behavior.

On June 20, the AGFD gave a presentation on IFT annual work activities and an overall reintroduction project update to the Apache County Board of Supervisors in St. Johns, AZ.

On June 23, the AGFD talked to a group at the Butterfly Lodge in Greer, AZ about routine field techniques used by biologists on the IFT to monitor and capture Mexican wolves.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

In June, Ed Davis left the AGFD to continue his education. Thank you Ed for your dedication and contributions to wolf recovery efforts!

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.


The Arizona Game and Fish Department prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion, or disability in its programs and activities. If anyone believes that they have been discriminated against in any of the AZGFD’s programs or activities, including its employment practices, the individual may file a complaint alleging discrimination directly with the Director’s Office, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000, (602) 942-3000, or with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: Civil Rights Coordinator for Public Access, 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS:WSFR, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803. Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation or this document in an alternative format by contacting the Director’s Office as listed above.

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