PINETOP, Ariz. — Biologists from multiple agencies working on the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team (IFT) have been surveying end-of-year Mexican wolf population numbers since Nov. 1, 2023 and are expected to continue through Feb. 4, 2024.
Ground counts of wolf packs and single wolves in Arizona and New Mexico began Nov. 1. The ground count period lasts for the months of November and December and is followed by an aerial count and capture operation conducted by the IFT using helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft. The dates for the upcoming aerial count and capture operation are Jan. 23 through Feb. 4, weather permitting.
Residents of Alpine, Arizona, Reserve and Magdalena, New Mexico, and surrounding areas may notice several daily flights of a low-flying helicopter over their communities during this period as biologists conduct their annual wolf population survey and capture. Survey flights will occur on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, Apache-Sitgreaves, Cibola and Gila national forests in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, and
possibly on some areas immediately outside the forests.
The IFT is in the process of contacting private landowners for permission to land on their property to capture a wolf, if necessary, and is coordinating with land management agencies and county sheriff offices on survey operation details. Details of the 2023 wolf population census are anticipated to be available in March 2024.