M1275, a male wolf born into the Bluestem pack last year, is pictured in this video. Arizona Game and Fish biologists trapped the pup in August of 2012. During the brief capture, they took a blood sample to determine parentage and administered vaccinations for parvo, distemper, and rabies. Before release they outfitted the pup with a radio telemetry collar to allow the field team to track him.
As shown in this video, the field team takes precautions to minimize trauma to the wolf in the trapping process, but it doesn’t always go as planned. In a similar operation in August of this year another Bluestem wolf, f1289, died after a difficult capture. Results of a necropsy to determine the cause of death are still pending.
Of the estimated 75 Mexican gray wolves living in the wild, 44 wear radio telemetry collars according to the most recent Monthly Project Update issued September 12, 2013. Weekly flights monitor the wolves’ locations and the information is used to determine denning behavior (the alpha female travels less and stays in one area) during breeding season and pack status (a wolf begins to travel separately from the pack). It can also be used to investigate and assign responsibility to a specific wolf or pack when cattle or other livestock are killed.
M1275, now considered a juvenile, still runs with the Bluestem Pack and was recently recaptured and outfitted with a new collar.
Note: A public hearing about proposed rule changes in the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program scheduled for Friday, October 4th, in Albuquerque has been postponed indefinitely due to the partial government shutdown earlier this week.
Update (10/13/13)–Roxane at Lobos of the Southwest let me know that the Bluestem pups born in 2012 were given names in a contest late last year. The two mentioned above were named Huckleberry (m1275) and Little Wild (f1289).