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Population dynamics and reintroduction characteristics of Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico’s Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area

Duration

October 2011 - September 2015

Narrative

The Blue Range population of Mexican wolves, although successfully established in1998, is not thriving. Between 1998 and 2003 the actual minimum population of Mexican wolves in the BRWRA closely tracked with population projections in the 1996 Final Environmental Impact Statement. From 2004 through 2010, the minimum population count has not reached FEIS projections or shown continued steady growth. Over the last seven years, the population size has hovered around the halfway point of the population target of at least 100 wolves. Yet, data from the reintroduction project has not been rigorously analyzed to help elucidate potential modifications for the project or describe best management practices for this population. In addition, the Mexican wolf project is currently developing a new recovery plan for the Mexican wolves, which will likely require additional reintroductions to occur for recovery objectives to be met. Scientific analysis of the data should help guide future reintroduction efforts in other areas and allow for comparison with disparate populations to further our understanding of Mexican wolf biology across their range.

The objectives of this study are to investigate: (1) habitat colonization preferences of Mexican wolves and the distribution of preferred wolf habitat across the southwestern U.S., (2) factors that promote successful initial releases and translocations of Mexican wolves, (3) factors that contribute to increased reproduction rates, (4) survival of Mexican wolves, and (5) dispersal patterns of Mexican wolves. Ultimately these factors will be incorporated into a population model to determine scenarios that increase or decrease population vigor.

 

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 15

Phd Students: 5

Post Docs: 2

University Staff: 3

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 25

Scientific Publications: 52

Presentations: 161

 

Personnel

  • James CainPrincipal Investigator
  • John OakleafCo-Principal Investigator
  • Stewart BreckNon-PI Collaborator

Funding Agencies

  • Science Support Partnerships

Links

New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
  2. New Mexico State University
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey