Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Assessment of population size and prey selection patterns of Mexican gray wolves on the San Carlos Apache and Fort Apache Indian Reservations, AZ


July 2006 - September 2010


To estimate minimum population size, individual identification, and prey selection of wolves through analyses of DNA recovered from scat.
The objectives of this study will be to estimate minimum population size, individual identification, and prey selection of wolves through analyses of DNA recovered from scat. Population estimates of reintroduced Mexican wolves on Tribal lands (i.e., San Carlos Apache and Fort Apache Indian reservations) in Arizona are unknown. How population fluctuations and prey selection relates to drought or other climate changes will also be investigated. One hypothesis that will be tested is whether or not a reliable estimate of wolves can be obtained from isolating DNA from scat and how environmental factors such as drought affect population size and prey selection. Prey selection of three other sympatric carnivore species including mountain lions (Puma concolor), black bears (Ursus americanus), and coyotes (Canis latrans) will also be assessed. While this study will provide important information to the Mexican Wolf Program, vital information from this study will enable the WMAT (White Mountain Apache Tribe) and SCAT (San Carlos Apache Tribe) Apache Tribal lands for two tribes to better manage wolves on their home lands. Thus, because the WMAT and SCAT are crucial partners in the wolf reintroduction program, information is needed to better understand the population trends of Mexican wolves and how climate changes affects wolves and their prey so that the Tribe can better manage their resources.

In addition to the above objectives, the current attitudes of the White Mountain Apache and San Carlos Tribe with respect to the presence of wolves on the Reservations will be assessed. Information on the traditional position of Tribal members with regards to large carnivores will also be gathered. The various attitudes and positions of Tribal members must be taken into account for successful research to take place on the reservation. In addition, exploring how local knowledge fits into scientific research will also be assessed.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 244

Phd Students: 144

Post Docs: 55

University Staff: 251

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 680

Scientific Publications: 1916

Presentations: 4252



Funding Agencies

  • Science Support Partnership
  • SPP State Partnership Program
  • USFWS Region 6


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey