I haven’t followed the wolf introduction enough to form a sensible opinion, but reading the monitoring report is kind of interesting, actually…

From AZGFD:

Endangered Species Updates
July 12, 2007

MEXICAN WOLF REINTRODUCTION PROJECT NEWS

Monthly Status Report: June 1 – 30, 2007

The following is a summary of Mexican wolf reintroduction project activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and in New Mexico on the Gila National Forest (GNF), collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Reintroduction Area (BRWRA). Additional 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 Web site at http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf. Past updates may be viewed on either Web site, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting http://www.azgfd.gov/signup. This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The reintroduction project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR). Other entities cooperate through the Adaptive Management Work Group (AMWG) that meets quarterly in Arizona and/or New Mexico, including private individuals, organizations and tribes.

To view the weekly wolf telemetry flight location information or the 3-month wolf distribution map, please visit http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf. On the home page, go to the “Wolf Location Information” heading on the right side of the page near the top and scroll to the specific location information you seek.

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.

Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 18 months or pups. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate alpha wolves.

Definitions: For the purposes of the Monthly Update, a “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established home range. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs. If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.

CURRENT POPULATION STATUS

At the end of June, the collared population consisted of 26 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 11 packs and five single wolves. This number is different from last month because: 1) the IFT captured an uncollared female wolf, assigned it studbook number AF1056, and designated it the Lofer pack; 2) the IFT trapped and removed single f1028; and 3) f1016 of the Saddle pack is now considered Fate Unknown Female, as it has not be located for the past three months despite search efforts. Additionally, location information for single F923 has been moved from “Arizona” to “New Mexico.” Other uncollared wolves are known to be associating with wolves having radio collars, as well as being separate from known packs.

At the end of 2006, there were 59 wolves throughout the BRWRA in New Mexico and Arizona. Of those, 46 were born in the wild.

SEASONAL NEWS

Mexican wolf pups are generally born mid-April to mid-May. The IFT will continue monitoring wolves to determine if females are denning in order to document wild-born pups. Based on location information and wolf observations, the IFT has documented denning behavior in seven packs and possibly in four others. See pack information below for more information.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AM806, AF521 and f1042)
During June, the IFT located all pack members on the FAIR. However, on June 11, the IFT located AM806 separately on the ASNF. Based on location information, the IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM619 and uncollared AF486)
Throughout June, the IFT located AM619 in its traditional home range in the northern portion of the ASNF. On June 4, the IFT recovered the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) collar, found by a USFS employee, which was fitted on AF486 on January 18, 2006. On June 11, during the aerial telemetry flight, the IFT observed one wolf, determined to be AM619 based on radio telemetry signals. Based on location information, the IFT has documented possible denning behavior in this pack.

Paradise Pack (collared M1044, M1045 and M795)
Throughout June, the IFT located the pack in the northwest portion of the BRWRA on the ASNF. On June 20, the IFT confirmed that an uncollared member of the pack was involved in a domestic sheep injury (see “Incidents” below for more information). In response to this incident and a confirmed depredation that occurred on May 22, the IFT began obtaining three ground locations of the pack per week; erected turbo fladry fencing (a visual and physical deterrent to canids) around the perimeter of a sheep pasture; and is providing updates to the permittee. Based on location information, the IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack.

Rim Pack (collared AF858 and f1048)
Throughout June, the IFT located the pack within its traditional home range in the central portion of the ASNF. Based on location information, the IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack.

f1028 (collared)
Throughout June, the IFT located and observed f1028 with a leg injury near Alpine. The IFT conducted intensive monitoring to assess the injury. Due to f1028’s continued use of the Alpine area and its injury, the IFT attempted to haze it from the area. During the last week of June, the IFT began trapping efforts to remove f1028 because hazing efforts were unsuccessful, and the IFT suspected that f1028 killed a domestic duck on June 23 (see “Incidents” below). On June 28, the IFT captured f1028 north of Alpine and transported the wolf to a veterinarian. The veterinarian treated the foot and predicted the leg will be weight bearing. The IFT plans on transporting f1028 to the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility sometime in mid-July where it will be evaluated for potential future translocations.

ON THE FAIR:

Bacho Pack (collared M990)
Throughout June, the IFT located M990 on the FAIR. Based on location information, the IFT has documented possible denning behavior in this pack.

Lofer Pack (collared AF1056)
On June 23, the IFT captured an uncollared, lactating female wolf on the FAIR. They assigned the wolf studbook number AF1056. The IFT observed evidence and heard howling indicating that there are other adults and pups in the area. Based on wolf observations, the IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Aspen Pack (collared AF667, M863 and f1046)
Throughout June, the Aspen pack continued to use areas north of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness, as well as the eastern portion of the Gila Wilderness. Based on location information, the IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack.

Durango Pack (collared AM973 and AF924)
Throughout June, the IFT located the pair in the northeastern portion of the GNF. On June 29, the IFT confirmed that AM973 and AF924 were involved in a depredation incident of a cow and calf (see “Incidents” below). As a result, the USFWS issued a Permanent Removal Order for AF924. Based on location information, the IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack.

Luna Pack (collared AM583, f1047 and uncollared AF562)
During June, the IFT located the Luna pack in the central portion of the GNF and in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness. Based on location information, the IFT has documented possible denning behavior in this pack.

Middle Fork Pack (collared AM871 and AF861)
Throughout June, the IFT located the pair in the northwestern portion of the Gila Wilderness. Based on location information, the IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF903)
During June, the IFT located AF903 in the northwestern portion of the Apache National Forest (ANF) in New Mexico. Based on location information, the IFT has documented possible denning behavior in this pack.

M992 (collared)
Throughout June, the IFT located M992 in the west-central portion of the GNF. On June 18 and for the remainder of the month, the IFT located M992 in the vicinity of single F923.

m1038 (collared)
In June, the IFT located m1038 in the northwestern portion of the Apache National Forest (ANF) in the vicinity of the San Mateo pack.

m1039 and f1040 (both collared)
The IFT located m1039 and f1040 south of the traditional Aspen pack home range, in the eastern portion of the Gila Wilderness.

F923 (collared)
During June, the IFT located F923 in the west-central portion of the GNF. On June 18 and for the remainder of the month, the IFT located f923 with single M992.

INCIDENTS

On June 6, the IFT received a call from the Wolf Investigator in Catron County, New Mexico, reporting a dead yearling cow. The IFT investigation confirmed that a wolf had killed the cow. Based on all available evidence, the IFT assigned the depredation to AM863 of the Aspen pack. This is the first depredation incident for AM863 within a 365-day period.

On June 7, the IFT received a call from the Catron County Sheriff’s Office reporting a dead cow discovered by a permittee. The IFT investigation, the same day, revealed the cow died from bloat.

On June 7, AGFD employee Dan Groebner investigated a report of denning wolves north of Joseph City, AZ. Through visual confirmation and location of a carcass, the animals turned out to be feral dogs.

On June 10, the IFT received a call from the Catron County Wolf Investigator reporting two dead horse colts. The investigator determined that one colt died from dog-inflicted injuries, and the other colt was still in the placental sack. The IFT did not investigate this incident, as all indications were that it was a dog-related attack.

On June 11, the IFT investigated a report of a dead calf in Catron County. The IFT investigation revealed that the calf died from coyote-inflicted wounds.

On June 11, during the aerial telemetry flight, the IFT observed a dead cow in Catron County. The IFT investigated and discovered a second dead cow. The IFT investigation determined that both cows died as a result of poison weed.

On June 20, the IFT received a report of an uncollared wolf observed over a quarter mile from a residence in Apache County, AZ. Two days later, the resident discovered a sheep with canine bite marks on its face. The IFT investigation confirmed that the injuries were caused by a wolf. The IFT determined the age of the sheep’s injury was consistent with the uncollared wolf sighting on June 20.

On June 23, the IFT received a report that f1028 had killed a domestic duck in Apache County. However, the owner declined an investigation and the IFT set additional traps in the area.

On June 27, the IFT received a report of a dead cow in Catron County. The IFT investigation determined that a wolf killed the cow. Based on all available evidence, the IFT assigned the depredation to AM863 of the Aspen pack. This is the second depredation incident for AM863 within a 365-day period.

On June 29, the IFT received a report of a dead cow in Catron County. Following radio telemetry signals, they observed AF667 and f1046 of the Aspen pack in the area. Based on all available evidence, the IFT assigned the depredation to AF667 and f1046 of the Aspen pack. This is the second depredation incident for these two wolves within a 365-day period.

On June 29, the IFT received a report from the Catron County Wolf Investigator of a dead cow and calf. The IFT investigation confirmed that wolves killed both animals. Based on all available evidence, the IFT assigned the depredation to the Durango pack. This is the first depredation incident for AM973 and the third depredation incident for AF924 within a 365-day period. As a result of this third incident, the USFWS issued a Permanent Removal Order for AF924.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

On June 14, Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility personnel captured six sub-adults and one adult and performed annual examinations on each. They then transferred the seven wolves to the Wolf Management Facility at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico.

On June 26, members of the IFT and the Wolf Management Facility at the Sevilleta Refuge captured the seven Saddle pack pups for their first round of vaccinations. All seven pups were in good health. Personnel examined AF797 and AM732 and determined them to be in good health. They transferred M636 and F836 to the Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On June 9, Shawna Nelson provided a general wolf reintroduction project presentation to eight members of the public at the Torreon subdivision in Show Low, AZ.

On June 19, Shawna Nelson spoke to board members of the Natural Resource Conservation District (NRCD) in Springerville, AZ, providing updates on the wolf project and answering questions.

On June 27, Shawna Nelson provided a wolf project update and addressed issues and concerns with 24 employees of the Reserve Ranger District in New Mexico.

On June 28, Shawna Nelson provided a wolf project update and addressed issues and concerns with 22 employees of the Alpine Ranger District in Arizona.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

On June 8, Jennifer Timmer, a former USFWS volunteer, completed her temporary position with the project.

On June 18, Allie Hunter began her temporary position as a USFWS volunteer for the project.

REWARDS OFFERED

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000 and the Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican wolves. A variety of non-governmental organizations have pledged an additional $35,000, for a total reward amount of up to $46,000, depending on the information provided.

Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents in Mesa, AZ, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, AZ, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, NM, at (505) 346-7828; the White Mountain Apache Tribe at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700; or New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263. Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act, and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000 and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.