More Yellowstone pup counts. Couple stumbles into Hayden
Valley Pack den site.

June 13, 2006, Update June 21


White there are still no pup counts for interior packs, there are counts for the Northern Range packs, except for the Druids.

The Agates have six pups, Leopold nine, the new Hellroaring Pack 3 or 4, and the Swan Lake Pack has undergone a real regeneration. If their six pups survive, they will have gone from just the old alpha male to 8 wolves in less than a year.

The Hayden Valley Pack clearly has pups at their den site which is close to Canyon. Very recently despite many "closure signs" a couple wandered onto their den from another direction. While all the details are not in, they said they saw pups and that they were quickly "surrounded" by the adult wolves. They left without harm, however. I hope more will be found out about this incident. The Park Service wants people to look carefully for all wildlife closure signs and heed them. If the pack now moves its pups, they could be in jeopardy.

The Hayden Valley Pack is very easily seen and is a favorite of photographers.

Hayden Valley Pack alpha male
          Here the Hayden Pack's big alpha male stands in the spring snow (April 06) next to road to Artist Point.

The Unknown Pack continues to dominate the Lamar Valley and the Druids are in Round Prairie. So far they don't appear to have had a confrontation. The Unknowns killed a bison calf the other day.

The Sloughs have broken up, with the largest group including 380F, 490M and 526F and some uncollared wolves moving north of the Park, way up Slough Creek. Most recently they were located at its confluence with Elk Tongue Creek. Wolf 527F, one of the wolves who probably had and lost her pups, did not go with them.

Update June 21-

We just spent 4 days in the Park.

Wolf watching is definitely more difficult than in the past, perhaps making it worthwhile to hire a guide as compared to when it was just a matter of finding wolf watchers and scopes.

The Agates are perhaps the easiest to see. Look for them from the Mt. Washburn road in Antelope Creek. On the afternoon of June 19 they killed an elk, which was taken over that night by a grizzly, who ate some and seriously buried the carcass. Then the Agates unearthed their kill, ate more, only to have the griz return.

There is still no count of Druid pups. From Round Prairie it is evident why. The den is on a steep, but very heavily forested slope of Mt. Norris/The Thunderer. The Druids had a round of success with the Unknowns. They apparently sneaked up on the two of new pack and won the fight, pinning an Unknown who has gained the nickname "one ear." They bit One Ear repeatedly over several minutes, but let the wolf go, perhaps serving a warning to the Unknowns rather than full battle.

Our impression is that tourist situation at Canyon is chaotic regarding the Hayden Valley Pack, which has pups, but (I think) is being jeopardized by uncontrolled tourist activity. The wolves are also being harassed (unintentionally) when they appear on the busy highway.

A recent flight yielded the first count of an interior wolf pack. The Yellowstone Delta Pack (down to just 4 wolves) has 4 or 5 pups. Most likely the bulk of Deltas are now the Buffalo Pack, which resides near Moran Junction in, and near, Grand Teton National Park. Cattle were moved out of Pacific Creek so they would not conflict with the Pacific Creek Pack (also probably an earlier Delta Pack split off) and the Buffalo Pack. The cattle, from the Pinto Ranch, were put on the pasture in front of Uhl Hill (which was closed to 2 years ago to grazing after many years' battle, and was long considered a threat to the Teton Pack, which denned for many years at nearby Elk Ranch Reservoir, until they moved south of Jackson Hole last winter)

Regarding this, Ed Bangs wrote, "Jimenez reported that Grand Teton National Park and a Park grazing permittee worked out a voluntary agreement to move cattle from one allotment with an active wolf den to another one that didn’t have much wolf activity. As luck would have it, another pack has just moved their pups closer to the allotment now being grazed. However GPS collar locations of that pack indicate that most of that pack’s activity is away from the cattle. The Park and permittee deserves a lot of credit for working hard to pro-actively work to reduce the risk of depredation."

I'm not sure if Bangs is referring to the Buffalo Pack or the just discovered, new Sage Pack.


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