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AZ: Mexican wolf update lists incidents, wolf deaths

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Game and Fish has issued its monthly update for August on the Mexican gray wolf.

The report tracks a variety of statistics including pack movements and travel habits of collared wolves in the respective environments.

“At the end of August, there were 70 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring,” AZGFD wrote.

Of particular note were two listed mortalities that occurred in August, one in New Mexico and the other in Arizona.

The pack the Arizona mortality belongs to roams mainly on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

“In August, AM1343 of the Tsay-O-Ah Pack was located dead in Arizona. This mortality is under investigation,” the report read.

Any shift in wolf population could be impactful for the recovery program. Currently, the Interagency Field Team estimated 114 wolves in the wild at the end of 2017, and, not accounting for births, there have been eight documented deaths since the beginning of the year.

The release also records reports of wolf depredation on livestock and other incidents with people. One incident saw a woman in Hannagan Meadow report a collared wolf walk up the steps to a cabin and attempt to enter a barn before being frightened off. The property had been unoccupied for months before the incident according to the report.

The incident closely resembles a similar one in the Blue that saw a family’s dog killed when a wolf approached a dwelling. There were no further sightings.

In another incident a hunter south of Alpine was surrounded by a pack of wolves while out hunting deer in the early morning.

“The hunter told the IFT that he was deer hunting on foot in the early morning when he was surrounded by wolves approximately 100 yards away. The hunter reported that the wolves were growling, barking and moving back and forth. The hunter stated there were as many as nine to 10 wolves. The hunter left the area to return to his vehicle and indicated the wolves followed him out. GPS collar data was used by the IFT to determine the encounter reported by the hunter was with the Prime Canyon Pack, which consists of two adult wolves and a minimum of six pups from this year,” the report stated.

The conclusion of the Interagency Field Team was that the hunter had disturbed a gathering where pups were present, which caused the aggressive behavior.

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