YNP Mortality: Crystal Cr. alpha male

5/22/96.

Wolf no. 4M the alpha male in the Crystal Creek Pack is
dead. He may have been killed in a territorial dispute
with the new Druid Peak pack.

A NPS tracking flight on Monday, May 20 received a mor-
tality signal from the wolf's radio collar. Today, May 22,
the wolf's body was retrieved from the Soda Butte Creek
drainage just to the NE of Lamar Valley. Biologists are
not sure about the cause of death. A necropsy will be done
in Ashland, OR at the Fish and Wildlife Service's National
Forensics lab.

Biologists said the black male had puncture wounds in the
soft tissue on the inside of its hind legs. This injury may
have killed the wolf.

There are now three packs in the general Lamar Valley-Soda
Butte Creek-Slough Creek area. They are the Crystal Creek Pack
(now just two wolves -- 5F and 6M), the Rose Creek Pack, and
the Druid Peak Pack. The Druid Peak Pack consists of 5 new
wolves. They were held in the Rose Creek acclimation pen, and
released this April. The Druid Peak Pack was captured in Bessa
Creek in NE British Columbia.

The Soda Butte Pack from last year was released in the same area,
but it has spent more and more time north of the Park in, and
north of, the Beartooth Mountains. The alpha female of the pack
has denned on private land near East Rosebud Creek. There is no
word yet about pups.

It is believed that the Crystal Creek alpha female (R5F) denned
in the southern part of the Lamar Valley. It is not known if
she had pups. She had no pups in 1995. Apparently remaining with
her is wolf 6M. This wolf was a sub-adult in 1995, but is now an
adult.

The Crystal Creek Pack was the most visible pack to Park visitors
throughout most of 1995, but its ranks were steadily depleted by
three dispersals of second year wolves and now the mortality of
the alpha.




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1996 Ralph Maughan
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