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Latest Note from the FieldMarch 19, 2003
Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Update March 1 - 15, 2003
This is a brief summary of current information about the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program in Arizona and New Mexico. Additional information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or (505) 248-6652 or by visiting our web site, http://mexicanwolf.fws.gov. Call toll-free at (888) 459-9653 to report suspected livestock depredations, incidents of take or harassment of wolves, or wolf sightings. The reintroduction is a multi-agency cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGF), New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMGF), USDA-Wildlife Services (USDA-WS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Turner Endangered Species Fund (TESF), and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).
Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks the history of all known Mexican wolves. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 18 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate sub-adults (younger than 18 months) or pups. Capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate alpha wolves.
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS The current Mexican wolf population includes 24 radio-collared wolves representing 8 packs and 1 lone wolf. Based on other data from the field (sightings, tracks, etc.) we believe there is a minimum of 16 additional wolves currently surviving. This does not take into account fate unknown wolves (i.e. pups released prior to 2002 without radio collars, pups born in the wild prior to 2002 that have not been captured/ radio collared, and wolves whose radio collars have gone off the air that may still be free-ranging). WOLF PACK NEWS Bluestem Pack (AM507, AF521, m756): Arizona The Bluestem pack has been located on the White Mountain Apache Reservation near Pacheta Creek; east of Paddy Butte on an elk carcass; east of Pair O Dice Cienega where four wolves were observed by project personnel; north of Pacheta Falls; east of Paddy Butte; east of Ten of Diamonds Ranch; as well as west of the Maverick Fire Station.
Saddle Pack (AM574, AF510): Arizona The alpha pair has been located near McBride Canyon; east of Dry Prong Creek; and southwest of Blue Vista.
Hawk’s Nest Pack (AM619, AF486): Arizona The pack has been located west-northwest of Campbell Flat; along Boneyard Creek; northwest of Rogers Marsh on an elk kill. On March 9th two, possibly three, wolves were observed by project personnel northwest of Rodgers Marsh. The pack has also been located near the 191 Hwy/403 Rd junction; west of Campbell Flat and near the Buffalo Crossing Campground. On March 15th, the Hawk’s Nest was located south-southwest of Campbell Flat and less than a mile from the Cienega Pack.
Bonito Creek Pack (AM794, AF587): Arizona AF587 and M794 remain together and have been located east of Bonito Prairie and northeast of Upper Corn Creek Tank on the White Mountain Apache Reservation.
Cienega Pack (AM194, AF487, m795, m796): Arizona Project personnel in the vicinity of Buffalo Crossing observed the alpha pair, m795, and two other wolves. The pack has also been located east and northwest of Carlton Vista; southeast of Crow Poison near Coleman Creek; in the Campbell Blue drainage; and west of the Luce Ranch on the Campbell Blue on an elk kill. On March 15th, Cienega was located less than a mile northwest of the Hawk’s Nest Pack
m796 was located separately from the rest of the pack northwest of Moonshine Park; northwest of Carlton Vista as well as east and southeast of Beaverhead.
Francisco Pack (AM509, AF511, f797, m798, f799, m801): Arizona F511, M509 and f797 were located east-northeast of Loafer Tank on the San Carlos Apache Reservation while m798, f799 and m801 were located north of Robinson Mesa on the Apache National Forest. The entire pack has also been located east-northeast of Loafer Tank; west-northwest of BS Gap; and east of Malay Tank on the Apache National Forest. On March 5th and 7th, the pack was observed on a cow carcass east of Loafer Tank. Wildlife Services personnel investigated the carcass and found no evidence to support that the cow was killed by wolves.
Gapiwi Pack (AM584, AF624): New Mexico The alpha pair has been located on Aeroplane Mesa; north-northeast of Yellow Mountain and north of Loco Mountain in the Gila National Forest.
Luna Pack (AM583, AF562): New Mexico The alpha pair has been located west of the Gila Cliff Dwellings as well as in Ring Canyon near the confluence of the West Fork River in the Gila National Forest.
Cerro Pack (F644, M639): Arizona These “Dispersal” wolves formed what project personnel believed was a pack. F644 and M639 were seen running together in the vicinity of approximately 75 elk northwest of Cerro Trigo. The pair has also been located northeast of Antelope Mountain; east of Cerro Trigo and near the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Grassland’s Ranch. On March 5th, they were seen on an elk kill and on March 6th, project personnel observed a wolf from this pair chasing a coyote.
On March 9th, M639 was found dead in the vicinity of Cerro Montoso, which is approximately six miles east of Vernon, Arizona. The cause of his death is under investigation. Project personnel observed F644 on March 10th at which time she appeared to be in good physical condition. It is still too early to know if the pair successfully had bred. Since the death of her mate, F644 has remained in the area and has been located southwest of Cerro Montoso as well as several miles south of Vernon.
SEASONAL NEWS The Interagency Field Team is currently conducting a winter predation study that began March 3rd and will continue until March 21st. The study consists of project personnel flying on a daily basis to identify wolf-killed ungulates from the air and patterns related to those kills. To date, the IFT has located five kills among the three packs that are part of the study. This is a pilot study to assess the feasibility of incorporating these methods into future winter studies.
CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT On March 6th, a tumor was removed from F166 at the Ladder Ranch from under her left rear nipple. It was sent out for biopsy and are waiting for the results.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION The Interagency Management Advisory Group meeting was held in Silver City March 14th. Topics discussed included a review of the Game Commission directions and restructuring of the program, a field update, proposed releases and release strategies for New Mexico, and stakeholder involvement.
*** Announcement *** The next Interagency Management Advisory Group meeting will April 30th at the Hondah Casino in Arizona on located at the junction of Highways 260 and 73. This meeting is open to the public.
On March 6th, Maggie Dwire and Melissa Woolf gave a presentation at Sevilleta to a Sierra Club work group. Approximately 25 people attended.
Members of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team will be speaking at the 15th Annual 2003 North American Interagency Wolf Conference to be held at Chico Hot Springs Resort, Pray, Montana April 8th – 11th.
INCIDENTS On March 9th, M639 was found dead in the vicinity of Cerro Montoso, which is approximately six miles east of Vernon, Arizona. The cause of his death is under investigation.
On March 5th and 7th, the Francisco pack was observed on a cow carcass east of Loafer Tank. Wildlife Services personnel investigated the carcass and found no evidence to support that the cow was killed by wolves.
REWARDS OFFERED The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican gray wolves. An additional $10,000 is being offered by the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife ($5,000 each). Investigations into the following illegal killings are ongoing:
· Campbell Blue alpha female, AF174, was shot on August 7, 1998, in the Williams Valley area near Alpine, Arizona. · Hawk’s Nest male, m532, was found dead from gunshot wounds near the Arizona/New Mexico state line on November 7, 1998. · Hawk’s Nest male, m531, was found dead from gunshot wounds on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation on November 23, 1998. · Francisco yearling male, m590, was found dead from gunshot wounds on December 18, 2000 approximately ½ mile north of Highway 12 in the Apache National Forest’s Divide wood cutting area near Aragon, New Mexico. · Saddle Pack yearling female, f645, was found dead from gunshot wounds on November 5, 2001 near Forest Road 117, south of Highway 60, in the Greens Peak area near Vernon, Arizona. · Lupine Pack alpha female, AF169, was found dead from gunshot wounds on November 15, 2001 near Maverick Mountain on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. · Lupine yearling male, m630, was found dead from gunshot wounds December 3, 2001, 18 miles northwest of Springerville, south of Highway 60 in Apache County, Arizona. · Lupine yearling F634 was found dead from gunshot wounds on December 7, 2001at the Woods Canyon Lake area in Arizona. · Bonito Creek AM674 was found dead from gunshot wounds on October 22, 2002 on the White Mountain Apache Reservation near Loafer Cienega. · Saddle Pack F646was found dead from gunshot wounds in Arizona on December 3, 2002 near the 25 Road and Highway 191.
Individuals with information they believe may be helpful should call one of these agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents in Mesa, AZ at (480) 967-7900 or Pinetop at (928) 367-5689; the White Mountain Apache Tribe at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; Arizona Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700; or New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263. The killing of a Mexican gray wolf is a violation of Federal and State’s of Arizona and New Mexico laws. Violations of the Federal Endangered Species Act can invoke criminal penalties of up to $25,000 and /or six months in jail, or a civic penalty of up to $10,000.
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