Mexican Wolf Found Dead in Eastern Arizona
Arizona Game and Fish Department personnel on the Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team discovered a dead wolf on the evening of Aug. 22 during routine pack monitoring activities.
The field team was alerted to the situation when it received a mortality signal from the telemetry collar on AF1110, the Hawks Nest Pack alpha female.
The animal was recovered by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Special Agent and Game and Fish personnel the following day in the pack’s traditional territory on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
A preliminary exam by Mexican wolf project personnel failed to reveal an obvious cause of death. The wolf was sent to the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab in Oregon for a complete necropsy.
The Hawks Nest pack was one of three packs in Arizona that were directly affected by the Wallow fire this summer. The fire burned over the pack’s primary den site. However, AF1110 and the other pack members were able to move the pups.
The field team documented that AF1110 had at least six pups this year. The pups are weaned, and the remaining pack members continue to feed the pups, which will begin travelling with the pack later this fall when they are more mature.
AF1110 was one of the most consistent breeding females in the past few years. The breeding male from the Hawks Nest Pack was illegally killed in 2010, but AF1110 established a bond with another breeding-age male wolf earlier this year.
The Hawks Nest Pack has never had any documented livestock depredations or nuisance incidents with humans. They have been able to live and breed in an area of the Apache- Sitgreaves National Forest with many human activities in the area including livestock production, hunting, camping, hiking, woodcutting, and OHV use, with little to no interaction with the people that also use the area.
Mexican wolf reintroduction is a joint effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department, White Mountain Apache Tribe, USDA Forest Service, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Wildlife Services, and other stakeholders. The Fort Apache Indian Reservation also plays an integral part in the reintroduction effort.