An individual-based model for predicting dynamics of a newly established Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) population—Final report

Open-File Report 2018-1126
Prepared for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Agreement: G12AC20098
By:  and 

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Project Summary

The Mexican wolf recovery team proposed to establish other populations of Mexican wolves (Canis lupus baileyi) in the Southwest (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1982). We were tasked to conduct an extensive simulation modeling exercise to determine release strategies (in conjunction with management actions) that best predict establishment of a new Mexican wolf population. Our objectives were to determine optimal release and management strategies for population establishment and growth. This is a retrospective analysis utilizing data from 1998 to 2014, and during this period, we divided management strategies into two phases; (1) 1998–2008, where nuisance wolves (i.e., wolves that exhibit nuisance behavior or depredate livestock) were managed primarily through lethal removals and removals to captivity, and (2) 2009–2014, when lethal removals ceased and diversionary feeding was provided to denning packs to dissuade wolves from conflict with humans. Management strategies from the second phase are being used for management of the current Mexican wolf population, and demographic rates derived from alternate population modeling in Vortex incorporating post-2008 wolf data are being used to guide future recovery efforts. Therefore, demographic rates estimated from our retrospective analysis will differ (i.e., due to our unique approach to the analyses and the demographic rates being derived from a different dataset), and are intended solely to address the objectives of this report, and are not intended as basis for the development of management recommendations for the current Mexican wolf population. Using individual-based models, we tested dozens of scenarios and derived an optimal release strategy that had the highest probability of establishing a new population and which maximized subsequent post-release growth, and in this report, we present these model results. Findings from this research will improve our understanding of release strategies that yield growing populations, advance our understanding of the demands of reintroducing large carnivores, and provide insight into beneficial strategies that could aid other species reintroduction programs.

Suggested Citation

Gedir, J.V., and Cain, J.W., III, 2018, An individual-based model for predicting dynamics of a newly established Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) population—Final report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1126, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181126.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Project Summary
  • Project Methods
  • Results
  • Project Outcomes
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title An individual-based model for predicting dynamics of a newly established Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) population—Final report
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2018-1126
DOI 10.3133/ofr20181126
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description iv, 16 p.
Country United States
State Arizona, New Mexico
Online Only (Y/N) Y