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Central Wolf in the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Dies July 24, 2005 10:56 AM

Central Wolf in the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Dies

One of the best known and best loved wolves in the Mexican wolf recovery program died early this morning, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced. The alpha female of the Francisco Pack, F511, overheated during a routine capture and check-up. Despite immediate veterinary care and follow-up treatment, she died sometime later.

F511 was at the Wolf Management Facility at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro, New Mexico with her four pups, her mate, M904 and her yearling male, M919. None of the other wolves experienced any complications and their health appears to be good. The Service expects the two males to step into the role of caregiver for the four pups.

This is a sad loss as this female has been such an integral part of our program to reintroduce the wolf back into its native lands,' said Dale Hall, Director of the Service's Southwest Region. 'Her picture has been used repeatedly for posters, brochures and other outreach materials and she quickly became recognized as the symbol for Mexican wolf recovery.' The Francisco pack was brought into captivity per standard operating procedures this summer because of multiple cattle depredations.

F511 was born in 1997 at the Wolf Management Facility at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. She was one of the first wolves reintroduced into the wild in Arizona in 1998 with her parents as part of the Campbell Blue Pack.

She whelped pups seven times over the course of her life and was the most successful breeder in the wild population. Several of her offspring continue to range free in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.

Since 1998, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services, and White Mountain Apache Tribe have been involved in reintroducing the Mexican wolf to areas of Arizona and New Mexico.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System,which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments
with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


Elizabeth Slown, Public Affairs Specialist
505-363-9592 (cell)
505-248-6915 (fax)

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 July 24, 2005 10:57 AM

Famous Mexican "poster wolf" dies of heat exhaustion after recapture
By Ralph Maughan, Wolf Recovery Foundation

July 24, 2005.

The alpha female AF511 of Francisco Pack, who was the most famous wolf in Mexican wolf program, has died of what seems to have been heat exhaustion. She was removed from a cooler mountain area several weeks ago, shortly after her mate was captured and injured during trapping operations (his leg had to be amputated), and the one adult member of the pack was shot by the government. Her mate, her yearling son, and her five pups were put in an enclosure at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, located in the Chihuahuan desert 20 miles north of Socorro, New Mexico. Temperatures at this lower elevation climbed to over 100o F, and night temperatures were higher than normal.

Her death happened when biologists entered the enclosure to vaccinate her pups. She dived into one of the wolf shelters (kind of like dog houses for wolves who are frightened) and may have died due to the high temperature there.

She was always close to success. She had 2 litters of wild born pups, but the first litter died of stress from a nearby construction project when they were recaptured. She had been recaptured twice before for leaving the arbitrary boundaries of the tiny Mexican wolf recovery area. Most recently her Francisco Pack killed a few cattle after they have become accustomed to scavenging cattle carcasses due to sloppy cleanup by ranchers
She was the last survivor of the first Mexican wolf release.
The recapture of the Francisco Pack certainly won't go down as a five star operation.

AF 511 in happier days in the snow.
A common sight on some cattle allotments, I took this photo on July 23, 2005 on the Pleasantview Allotment in Idaho. The cow probably died from poison plants (black henbane all over the allotment). The carcass was not removed, but simply left. We also found two dead calves that had been left, neither killed by predators. These abandoned carcasses teach predatory animals that cows are food.
The carcass was 100 feet from the road, and could have easily been hauled away.
Photo by Ralph Maughan. July 23, 2005.
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