The Bluestem Pack – September 2013 Update

 Photo Credit: Eric Kilby via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Eric Kilby via Compfight cc

In my last post about the Bluestem Pack  I had confirmed with Susan Dicks at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that the alpha female F1042 had a new litter of pups.  This was surprising since her longtime mate, M806, was killed about a year ago. So far,  not much is known about her current mate, the new alpha male of the pack.

During July and August the known (collared) members of the pack. according to the Monthly Project Updates, were F1042 and three yearlings (m1275, f1280, and f1289).  Another yearling, m1277, began traveling alone and is no longer considered part of the pack.  The field team confirmed with trail cameras in July that six pups had been born in the spring.

In mid-August they attempted to capture the alpha male and pups so they could be outfitted with radio collars.  During that operation they trapped f1289 who died during processing.  FWS will perform a necropsy determine the cause of the wolf’s death.

The Bluestem Pack’s traditional territory is in the east-central portion of the Apache-Sitegreaves National Forest.  Each week, weather permitting, the IFT has a pilot fly a radio telemetry flight to locate each of the collared wolves.  They travel constantly so the report that is issued after the flight is immediately outdated, but it is still a look at where the wolves are at a given time.  The September 17th report located the pack about four miles northwest of Tenney Mountain and four miles southwest of Noble Mountain. 

The telemetry report also indicated that some of the pups-of-the-year had been trapped and collared.  There are two females fp1332 and fp1333 and two males mp1330 and mp1331.

Summer turned to autumn last weekend.  In Rutter and Pimlott’s book The World of the Wolf  they call fall  ” . . . the most carefree season in the life of the wolf.  The responsibility connected with raising pups is over; the breeding season is still months ahead; there is no snow to make hard work of travel; the weather is neither too cold nor too hot, and food is plentiful.”

While the Bluestem Pack ranges through the forests and meadows of the Apache-Sitgreaves,  humans will be debating their future.  A public hearing will be held in Albuquerque on October 4th to discuss proposed rule changes to the reintroduction program.


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