Wildlife

Annual report on Lesser Prairie-Chicken released

Lesser Prairie-ChickenWAFWA Reports on 2016 Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Plan Conservation Progress

On March 31, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service its third annual report detailing achievements under the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan. Among other highlights, WAFWA reported on the purchase of an ecologically significant piece of property in Kansas, which permanently protects nearly 30,000 acres of high-quality lesser prairie-chicken habitat.

The range-wide plan is a collaborative effort of the state wildlife agencies of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado and is administered by WAFWA. It was developed to promote conservation by providing a blueprint for lesser prairie-chicken conservation through voluntary cooperation of landowners, land management agencies and industry participants. This plan allows participants to continue operations while restoring and maintaining habitat and reducing development impacts to the bird and its habitat.

Lesser Prairie Chicken, conservation plan

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Aerial Surveys to Document Lesser Prairie-Chicken Population Trends

Lesser Prairie Chicken(March 7, 2017) - Aerial surveys will begin March 16 and run through mid-May in five states containing lesser prairie-chicken habitat. The surveys are conducted annually by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) to document population trends and how the bird is responding to management strategies identified in the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan.

The range-wide plan is a collaborative effort of WAFWA and the state wildlife agencies of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. It was developed to ensure conservation of the lesser prairie-chicken with voluntary cooperation of landowners and industry. The plan allows agriculture producers and industry to continue operations while reducing impacts to the bird and its grassland habitat.

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Mexican Wolf Population Gains

mexican wolf

2016 Mexican wolf population survey reveals gains for experimental population

ALBUQUERQUE – The Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team (IFT) completed the annual year­-end population survey, documenting a minimum of 113 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico at the end of 2016.  This compares with a minimum of 97 wild wolves in 2015.

“We are encouraged by these numbers, but these 2016 results demonstrate we are still not out of the woods with this experimental population and its anticipated contribution to Mexican wolf recovery,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle. “Our goal is to achieve an average annual growth rate of 10 percent in the Mexican wolf population.  Although there was a one-year population decline in 2015, due in part to a high level of mortality and a lower pup survival rate, there are now more Mexican wolves in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona. The Service and our partners remain focused and committed to making this experimental population genetically healthy and robust so that it can contribute to recovery of the Mexican wolf in the future. We all understand the challenges we face as we try to increase the wild population of this endangered species."

Mexican Wolf, gray wolf

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Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project

wolf mexicanMonthly Update - December 1-31, 2016 - The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) in Arizona, including the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), San Carlos Apache Reservation (SCAR), and New Mexico.  Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ mexicanwolf.
 
This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose.  The Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).

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Southern Arizona endangered Mount Graham red squirrel population decreases

PHOENIX — An annual survey of the Mount Graham red squirrel recently revealed a slight decline in the number of the endangered squirrels in the Pinaleño Mountains in southeastern Arizona.

The survey conducted jointly by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Coronado National Forest, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Arizona estimated 252 squirrels. The survey is a decrease of 11 squirrels from the 2015 estimate of 263.

“While we’d prefer to see squirrel populations continually grow, it’s not uncommon for them to fluctuate considerably from year to year,” said Tim Snow, AZGFD terrestrial wildlife specialist. “At this point, we aren’t immediately concerned with the lower squirrel numbers. We remain optimistic that our efforts are working to ensure the population has the best opportunity to flourish in the future.”

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