The widowed female ("Murphy Brown") wolf no. 9 and her 8 pups were released from the Rose Creek enclosure on Oct. 10.
They were successful finding carrion -- the remains of a bison that probably died of natural causes and also a grizzly-killed elk.
Before long they encountered the Crystal Creek Pack, an event of great significance, because wolf no. 8 of the Crystal Pack (a 100-pound male in his second year) joined with female no. 9 to become the Rose Creek pack's new alpha male ("Murphy Brown" no more).
According to biologist Mike Phillips of the Park Service, the pups and the new male are getting along fine.
Since the joining of no. 8 and 9, together they killed a bull elk, auguring well for the winter.
Bringing no. 9 back to the enclosure and feeding her and her pups throughout the summer, made the Rose Creek pack the largest in the Park -- now at 10 members (8 of them pups).
With so many pups at the present, could there be even more in the spring; or is the number of pups likely to suppress mating?
How are the other two packs doing? Apparently well. The Crystal Creek pack has been favoring the backside (south side) of Specimen Ridge, just south of the Lamar Valley.
The Soda Butte Pack, after spending the summer near the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains in the Stillwater River drainage, close to civilization; moved back to the Yellowstone Park northern boundary area in mid-September. Since then they have moved farther south into the Park, Phillips did not say exactly where. The Soda Butte Pack had one pup this last spring.
The Rose Creek Pack originally had 3 members -- the alpha male and female and a daughter (no. 7), who was just beginning her second year. The large male and female soon crossed over the Beartooth Mountains toward the fateful encounter with McKittrick's rifle, but the young female remained behind. All summer and fall she has remained by herself in the lower Lamar Valley and further west along the northern border of the Park.
© 1995 Ralph Maughan
Not to be reprinted, archived, redistributed, etc., without permission.
© 1995 Ralph Maughan