DEC 2016: 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 or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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
Genetic results from a male pup, mp1561, in the Leopold Pack indicate that the breeding female of the Leopold Pack is AF1346; a pup cross-fostered into the Dark Canyon Pack in 2014. This confirms the first instance of a Mexican wolf cross-fostered into a wild den surviving to and successfully reproducing offspring. This is a significant accomplishment in recovery efforts to increase genetic diversity in the wild population through cross-fostering efforts. M1347 of the Baldy Pack was also cross-fostered into the Dark Canyon pack in 2014. M1347 has survived to reproductive age and has paired with f1445 which was named the Baldy Pack by the IFT in September 2016.
Current Mexican Gray Wolf Population Status
Population monitoring requires year round effort documenting births, deaths, survival, total numbers, and distribution. Mortality occurs throughout the year and is particularly high on young pups, so while the IFT has documented reproduction this year, the IFT will not have a complete idea of how many of these young pups and adults have died until the annual population survey which is conducted in the winter. Annual surveys are conducted in the winter because it is when the population is experiencing 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 this time, the IFT’s best population estimate is that there was a minimum of 97 wolves in the wild as of December 31, 2015. End of year counts for 2016 are currently ongoing and will be completed in February 2017. At the end of December, there were 56 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring.