Monday, January 18, 2016

Flight operations to begin for Mexican wolf population survey

Residents of Alpine and Reserve, N.M. and surrounding areas may notice several daily flights of a low-flying helicopter over their communities in the latter part of January as biologists working on the Mexican wolf reintroduction project conduct their annual wolf population survey and capture. The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department (department), USDA Forest Service, USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. The aerial operation is scheduled to run Jan. 19- Feb. 3, weather permitting. Survey flights will occur on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, on the Apache and Gila National Forests in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, and possibly on some areas immediately outside the forests. As part of the survey operation, biologist will attempt to capture some of the wild-born wolves in the populations that have not yet been fitted with a radio telemetry collar, those having a collar that needs a battery replacement, or any wolf appearing to be sick or injured. Captures are made with a tranquillizer dart or net gun operated by a biologist aboard the helicopter. The wolf is immobilized and brought by air to a staging area in Springerville for processing and any necessary veterinary care. It is then returned to the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area and released. Dolphin notes that the field team has already contacted private landowners for permission to land on their property to capture a wolf, if necessary, and has coordinated with land management agencies and county sheriff offices on survey operation details...more

No comments: