It's that time of the year again —wolf dating season in Yellowstone. Rick McIntyre of the Park just gave we the lowdown. This year there are a lot fewer wolves, but they are busy, and as usual it's not just the alpha pairs.
The Druid Pack has a new alpha female. She was recently radio collared and given the number 529F. She has been seen mating several times with the alpha male 480M, and 302M, who has been around a long time now with the Druids has mated with the pack's other gray female (uncollared).
The Slough Creek Pack has not been easily visible, but the alpha pair have been seen mating twice as well as a secondary Slough pair 377M and 527F (a brand new collared wolf). A number of the junior male wolves seem to have temporarily left the pack searching for mates.
The Agate Pack seems more stable with long time alpha male 113M in a tie with his alpha female, 427F.
Most interesting is the Leopold Pack. Five new males have
come into the Leopold territory. They have been chased half-heartedly a couple
time by the alpha pair, but 5 of the junior females have been interested. Only
one of the 5 males, who often hand out together has been identified. He is collared
wolf 295M, son of 113M of the Agate Pack, and last wolf in the
Swan Lake Pack, which obviously is not a pack with one member. The other four wolves are not identified, although two of them have non-functioning radio collars. One of the four males is black, the rest gray.
McIntrye said that so far there is no indication of wolves appearing to stake out territory for new packs, probably because all the territory is claimed by a pack despite the reduction in wolf numbers due to the high pup mortality in 2005. The Northern Range Packs (in the Park) remain Druid, Slough Creek, Agate, Hellroaring (a split from Leopold in 2005) and Leopold.. The Hellroaring Pack has not been seen much.
The only other news I have is that about 2 weeks ago, Dan Stahler of the Wolf Team told me that the Yellowstone Delta Pack was in a place they had not been seen before. This was east of the Park, but north of the East Entrance road near Jones Pass in the North Absaroka Wilderness.
I see the Park Service finally drew a map of the Yellowstone wolf pack territories for 2005. It is below. However, the Nez Perce Pack no longer exists, with the old alpha female 48F killed by the Gibbon Pack and the other two members driven south to Jackson Hole. The Swan Lake Pack too has been defunct since last spring.
Courtesy National Park Service
2-23-2006. Mike Bickley of Pocatello sent me this info on the Druid loverboys. "The evening of Feb. 9th. we were watching the Druids at the Footbridge. 480M was tied with 529F; 302M seeing a great opportunity mounted the gray female, and both pairs were tied at the same time. 480M didn't like it and tried to stop them, but there was not much he could do about it. Rick McIntyre said he was only aware of this happening one other time."
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