Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Update May 2018

The Eye of the Mexican Gray Wolf

The following is a recap of the 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 or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.  For information on the FAIR call (928) 338-4385 ext. 226 or visit www.wmatoutdoor.org.

Mexican Wolf Population Status

Mexican-Gray-WolfThe IFT completed the annual year-end population survey which started November 1, 2017 and concluded with helicopter count and capture operations conducted from January 24, 2018 through February 3, 2018.  The year-end minimum population count for 2017 was 114 wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. 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.  At the end of May, there were 73 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring.

Mexican Gray Wolves in Arizona

Bear Wallow Pack (collared AM1338, M1676, and f1683)
Bluestem Pack (collared f1686)
Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, f1668, and m1671)
Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290, AF1333, m1666, m1677, and m1681)
Panther Creek Pack (collared AM1382)
Pine Spring Pack (collared AF1562 and AM1394)
Prime Canyon Pack (collared AF1488 and AM1471)
Saffel Pack (collared AM1441, AF1567, m1661, and m1680)
Sierra Blanca Pack (collared M1571 and F1550)
Single collared M1477, F1489, M1574

Mexican Gray Wolves on the FAIR  

Baldy Pack (collared AM1347, F1560, and m1672)
Maverick Pack (collared AF1291)
Tsay-O-Ah Pack (collared AM1343, AF1283, and f1674)
Tu dil hil Pack (collared M1559 and F1679)

Mexican Gray Wolves in New Mexico

Copper Creek Pack
Dark Canyon Pack (collared AF1456 and AM1354)
Datil Mountain Pack (collared M1453 and F1685)
Frieborn Pack (collared AF1443 and AM1447)
Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038 and F1473)
Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, AF1278, m1555, m1556, and f1670)
Lava Pack (collared AF1405 and AM1285)
Leopold Pack (collared AM1293 and AF1346)
Luna Pack (collared AM1158, AF1487, and fp1684)
Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, AF1439, and f1664)
Prieto Pack (collared AF1251, AM1398, F1565, m1669, and m1678)
San Mateo Pack (collared AF1399 and f1578)
Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared AM1284, AF1553, mp1667, and fp1682)
Single collared AM1155, M1486, M1561, M1673

TROPHIC CASCADE

Mexican Gray Wolves Mortalities

In May, AF1335 of the Bear Wallow Pack and AF1339 of the Panther Creek Pack were located dead in Arizona.  Both mortalities are under investigation.   From January 1, 2018 to May 31, 2018 there have been a total of 6 documented wolf moralities.

Mexican Gray Wolves Incidents

Great Plains WolfDuring the month of May, there were 14 confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock. There were 5 nuisance incidents investigated in May.  From January 1 to May 31, 2018 there have been a total of 39 confirmed wolf depredation incidents in New Mexico and 17 confirmed wolf depredation incidents in Arizona.

On May 6 and 11, the IFT investigated reports of two elk killed by wolves in Alpine.  The IFT investigated and determined both elk were killed by wolves from the Prime Canyon Pack.  On May 12, an elk was killed in Nutrioso by wolves from the Elk Horn Pack.  There were no interactions between humans and wolves during any of these incidents.  All elk carcasses were removed from private lands.  Concentrations of elk feeding in pasture land in these communities have remained high during this spring due to the forage in the wet meadows as compared with dry conditions on the adjacent ASNF.  The IFT encourages all residents to report any wolf sightings in proximity to residences by calling the phone number listed above.  The IFT continued active hazing efforts of wolves in these areas and maintaining diversionary food caches to disrupt documented patterns of wolves regularly using areas inhabited by humans.  At the time this report was prepared, there have been no additional reports of elk killed by wolves in either of these communities.

On May 8, the IFT investigated a report of an interaction between a wolf and a dog at a residence in Alpine that reportedly had to be broken up by the owner of the dog.  The report was determined to be unfounded.

On May 13, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On May 13, Wildlife Services investigated a dead bull in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the bull was a confirmed wolf kill.

On May 13, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On May 13, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On May 15, Wildlife Services investigated an injured calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the injured calf was confirmed wolf.

On May 15, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On May 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On May 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Greenlee County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On May 23, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On May 23, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On May 24, the IFT received a report from a turkey hunter who observed a collared wolf from his camp on national forest near Hannagan Meadow three times during a three hour period on May 21, 2018.  The hunter reported that in the early morning hours he first saw the wolf at a distance of approximately 150 yards away from the camp.  The wolf left, then returned 30 minutes later and was observed approximately 25 yards from the camp.  The wolf left the area on its own, then returned a third time and was observed approximately 40 yards away around 9:00AM.  During this interaction the hunter never yelled or did anything to scare the wolf away.  The hunter was alone at the camp and there were no dogs present in camp.  The hunter indicated there was food present at the camp but he was not cooking at the time the wolf was observed.  The IFT confirmed this interaction involved a collared Mexican wolf from photographs taken during the incident.

On May 25, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was killed by a bear.

On May 26, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf had been killed by coyotes.

On May 27, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

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Don McDowell, Arizona native, is an avid outdoorsman and has been an active bass pro fisherman for over 16 years and in the past 15 years has developed his own radio show promoting bass fishing and conservation efforts for bass fishing that escalated to nominations with several bass groups and organizations. In the past 12 years, Don has pursued his conservation agenda through AZBFN-TBF as Conservation Director and with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in the spring of 2014 redesigned his website to include those efforts highlighted below and has increased the AZGFD exposure, public education of the AZGFD and Commission issues on his radio show and website soliciting local and national support for Arizona. 2014 has seen the founding of SRT Outdoors, Inc., 501 C3 organization, “Not for Profit, for Conservation” which is concentrating on grants for mitigating the effects of Gizzard Shad on Roosevelt lake thorough habitat enhancement, Florida Strain Bass stocking, lakes bottom mapping, etc. and feral hog research.

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