Arizona Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Update 5/1/02 - 5/15/02

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Arizona Game and Fish

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Update

May 1 - 15, 2002

     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 (505) 248-6652 or (928) 367-4281 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, Arizona Game and Fish Department, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, USDA-Wildlife Services, U.S. Forest Service, the Turner Endangered Species Fund, and the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

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 preceding the number indicate adult animals two years or older (M = Male, F = Female). Capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate alpha wolves.  Lower case letters indicate sub-adults or pups (m = male, f = female).

WOLF PACK NEWS:

Saddle Pack (AM574, AF510, F646): Arizona All three wolves have been localized southwest of Blue Vista and are presumed to be denning.

Hawks Nest Pack (AM619, AF486): Arizona The pair has been spending time in the Coyote Creek area. Project personnel have not observed denning behavior with the pair to date.

Bonito Creek Pack (AM674, AF587): Arizona The pair has been localized north of Maverick.  Project personnel suspect the pair is denning.

Cienega Pack (AM194, AF487, F621): Arizona, New Mexico The alpha pair has localized southeast of Hannagan Meadow. Project personnel suspect the pair is denning. Yearling F621 is still in New Mexico and has been located near Bear Wallow Mountain.

Francisco Pack (AM509, AF511, F644): Arizona The alpha pair has been traveling together southwest of Malay Gap. Project personnel have not observed denning behavior with the pair to date.  F644 is on the White Mountain Apache Reservation south of Hawley Lake.

Pipestem Pack (AM190, AF628): New Mexico AF628 localized in Black Springs Canyon and whelped a litter of seven pups on or about April 27. Project personnel located the den and attempted to trap the alpha pair at the den but were not successful. The pups were pulled from the den on May 5 and were taken to Albuquerque where they were bottle fed by project personnel until the pair was captured via a helicopter darting operation on May 10. The pups were reunited with the pair in the afternoon of May 10. Observations were done throughout the weekend to determine if the female would accept the pups back, which she did. The pack remains at Sevilleta where the pups are being raised by the pair. One of the pups is not consistent with what we would expect a Mexican wolf pup to look like; therefore, blood was taken from all seven pups as well as the pair to determine parentage. Results are expected shortly.

Gapiwi (AM584, AF624): New Mexico The pair has localized southwest of Lilley Park in the Gila Wilderness and is presumed to be denning.

Luna Pack (AM563, AF562): New Mexico  The pair has localized northeast of McKenna Park in the Gila Wilderness and is presumed to be denning.    

FATE UNKNOWN (indicates  wolves that have not been located for three months or longer)

M555 (Gavilan Pack – last signal 02/12/00)

M627 (Pipestem Pack – last signal 07/02/00)

F189 (Mule Pack – last signal 02/02/01)

F127 (Hawk’s Nest Pack - slipped out of radio collar; last seen 9/19/98)

F579 (Mule Pack un-collared pup released 5/24/99)

M581 (Mule Pack un-collared pup released 5/24/99)

M586 (Gavilan Pack un-collared pup released 5/22/99)

M641 (Francisco Pack un-collared pup released 7/15/00)

M642 (Francisco Pack un-collared pup released 7/15/00)

M643 (Francisco Pack un-collared pup released 7/15/00)

M678 (Lupine Pack un-collared pup released 6/20/01)

F679 (Lupine Pack un-collared pup released 6/20/01)

M680 (Lupine Pack un-collared pup released 6/20/01)

Three un-collared Hawk’s Nest pups (sexes unknown) released 6/3/99

SEASONAL NEWS  Several of the females are believed to be denning. Denning is generally determined by daily monitoring efforts during mid-April to mid-May, which is when Mexican wolves generally give birth. If the pack localizes during this time frame, particularly the alpha female, it is a good indication that she has denned and is tending to pups. The average litter size is four to six pups.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION The Interagency Field Team met on May 8 in Alpine to discuss various field issues.

LITIGATION  The Coalition of Arizona and New Mexico Counties for Stable Economic Growth, the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, and the Gila Permittees Association (collectively the “Coalition”) have filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for violations of the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act relating to the reintroduction of the Mexican wolf into the southwestern United States.

The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management for violation of the Endangered Species Act for failing to take measures (i.e. removal of livestock carcasses and/or render them unpalatable) that would prevent Mexican wolves from feeding on livestock carcasses, thus leading to the wolves’ removal from the wild.

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 recent shooting deaths of three Mexican gray wolves. An additional $5,000 is being offered by the Center for Biological Diversity. The Lupine Pack alpha female, AF169, was found dead from gunshot wounds on Nov. 15 near Maverick Mountain on the White Mountain Apache Reservation; Saddle Pack yearling female, f645, was found dead from gunshot wounds on Nov. 5, near Forest Road 117, south of Highway 60, in the Greens Peak area near Vernon; and Lupine yearling male, m630, was found dead from gunshot wounds Dec. 3, 18 miles northwest of Springerville, south of Highway 60 in Apache County, Arizona.

Investigations into the illegal killing of four other Mexican wolves are also still being conducted:

CCampbell Blue alpha female, AF174, was shot on Aug. 7, 1998, in the Williams Valley area near Alpine, Arizona.

CHawk’s Nest male, m532, was found dead from gunshot wounds near the Arizona/New Mexico state line on Nov. 7, 1998.

CHawk’s Nest male, m531, was found dead from gunshot wounds on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation on Nov. 23, 1998.

CFrancisco yearling male, m590, was found dead from gunshot wounds on Dec. 18, 2000 approximately one-half mile north of Highway 12 in the Apache National Forest’s Divide wood cutting area near Aragon, New Mexico.

     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) 835-8289 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 Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263.

     The killing of a Mexican gray wolf is a violation of federal and of Arizona and New Mexico state 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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