R27f's pups might be dead

6/5/96.

I reported yesterday that the most recent tracking flight showed
that R27F, the alpha female from the splintered Nez Perce Pack,
was moving farther and farther up the Stillwater River and into
the Wilderness.

Efforts to capture her and her five pups have been fruitless,
although biologists have been leaving road-killed animals near
where they thought her den is located.

The fact that she is moving still farther from her presumed den
site has led to speculation that her pups may be dead. The U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service's wolf recovery team leader, Ed Bangs,
was quoted as saying that they might have been killed by a cougar,
disease, or other causes. There is a possibility that she has
moved them up the canyon with her -- that they are still alive.

If the pups are still alive, the Fish and Wildlife Service still
plans to capture her and the pups and the other members of the
splintered pack. If they are dead, Bangs indicated that returning
her and the other pack members to the Park "may not be worth the
effort."

Biologists had expected numerous litters of pups this year, but
only two litters have been definitely identified, and one may be
dead. R36F was killed by a hot spring burn. She carried six pups.
R5F, the alpha female of the depleted Crystal Creek Bench pack
appears not have had pups for the second year. The Rose Creek female
R9F has borne at least three pups. It is still thought that the
Leopold Pack female R7F (R9F's daughter) has pups. It is also believed
that R14F, the alpha female of the Soda Butte pack has pups. R14F
had at least one pup last spring -- R24?. It is possible that she
had more than one, but if so, only one survived. R9F had eight pups.
These were raised with her all summer of 1995 in the Rose Creek pen.
Seven of these pups still survive along with her new mate R8M, which
left the Crystal Creek Bench Pack to pair with R9.

The new Druid Peak pack and the new Chief Joseph Pack have not pro-
duced pups.

There is still no word on whether the seldom-seen central Idaho wolves
produced pups.




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1996 Ralph Maughan
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