The weather has allowed a tracking flight, and it appears
that five of the female wolves in Yellowstone have denned.
Four of them are with their pack, and one of the females R27F,
*may* be alone.
Here are the details:
As indicated in my last article R9F, mother of 8 pups last
year, has denned in the northern part of Lamar Valley with
her Rose Creek Pack.
The alpha female of the Crystal Creek Bench Pack has denned
in the southern part of the Lamar Valley. Last year she
had no pups.
The alpha female of the Soda Butte Pack has denned in the
foothills of the Beartooth Mountains north of the Park near
Roscoe, Montana. Last year she had one pup, R24, the sex of
which has never been determined. She is with her pack,
The alpha female of the Blacktail Pack has denned with her
mate on the Blacktail Deer Plateau, SE of Mammoth Hot Sprs.
As I indicated, the adult female (R27) that was released
from the Nez Perce enclosure early in April and then migrated
far to the NE, returned to the foothills of the Beartooth
Mountains. There she has denned near Nye, Montana, on the
Custer National Forest. One of her female pups from last year
is nearby. This pup may or may not be with her mother.
Obviously R27 is a candidate for being returned to a Park en-
closure and held with her pup(s) through the summer as was
R9 and her pups last summer. R27's other two female pups
were located 50 miles to the SE in the Clark's Fork of the
Yellowstone area east of Yellowstone National Park.
The Druid Peak pack appears not to have denned. They were
located just north of the Park in Slough Creek near Frenchy's
Three members of the Chief Joseph Pack were located in the
Paradise Valley north of the Park near Emigrant, Montana. On
the last tracking flight they had been far to the west near
Quake Lake on the Gallatin National Forest. These three wolves
include two females and one male wolf. The other wolf released
with them was far away near Nez Perce Creek near the Lower
Geyser Basin. I believe this lone male was captured from a
different British Columbia pack.
Large wolf R28M, which had been released from the Nez Perce
enclosure was located alone on Monument Ridge in the Lee
Metcalf Wilderness (Montana) just NW of the Park. The male
pup that had earlier accompanied him (R29) was located in
the Gallatin mountain range about 10 miles to east near
Tom Miner Basin.
Wolf R35M from the ill-fated Lone Star release (his mate R36F
died from a hot spring burn) has not been located for some
time. He as last located near Lewis Lake in the southern part
of Yellowstone Park.
There is no word on pups or denning from the Idaho wolves, but
the Nez Perce Tribe indicates that there are 5 - 7 potential
denners. Their next tracking flight is scheduled for the third
week in May; so it may be some time before we know if the first
Idaho pups were born.
© 1996 Ralph Maughan
Not to be reprinted, archived, redistributed, etc., without permission.
© 1996 Ralph Maughan