Just about the time I was posting the article on the Sloughs and the seige of their den by the "unknown pack" last Tuesday, Slough Creek Pack femals 380F and 527F abandoned their natal den and they made their way to the abandoned old Druid den area on Druid Peak. There they were joined by a number of other Slough wolves including the alpha male 490M and the beta male 377M. 527F took a roundabout route to the Druid Den (she wears a an Argos GPS collar and can be tracked). On Wednesday both females were out with other Slough Creek Pack wolves in the Lamar Valley, so appears that their pups did not survive.
Soon thereafter, the "unknown pack's" alpha female, not thought to be pregnant, entered one of the Slough's dens from last year, "the sage den," and did not come out, indicative of pups. Her pack fully occupied the Slough dens and den area.
On Thursday the Slough Pack had moved to the Druid's old Chalcedony den site/rendezvous site at the base of Specimen Ridge, but by this (Friday) morning things were much changed. The Sloughs were scattered with their beta male 377M lying in Slough Creek with serious injuries that look like they came from other wolves. He is lying the swollen creek just below the den area the unknowns have taken over.The Slough Creek alpha male 490M was on Jasper Bench alone, possibly injured and being harassed by coyotes. Some of the Slough pack was in Lamar Valley.
So it looks like the Slough took a big loss in almost every respect.
This afternoon the unknown's alpha female was out of her den and running around in "an agitated fashion." Did she, or does she, have pups? Why is she agitated?
This has been a most amazing story, but it appears to be that the unknown pack may have won out due to their continuous solidarity.
In other news, the rest of the Yellowstone Park packs have denned except Mollies Pack and the Hayden Valley Pack. Mollies Pack has been moving about and the other day they attacked and killed a Yellowstone Delta wolf on Storm Point. The Delta wolf wore one of the valuable high tech GPS collars. Now only one radio collar is left with the Delta Pack wolves, and she may not be with the main group (wherever they are). She, however, is at the pack's traditional den site in the remote Yellowstone River Delta area.
It now looks like the Druids just have one den, not two as was speculated earlier. The den is that of the alpha female, 529F. The other three Druid wolves have been repeatedly seen in Round Prairie. Their den this year is in the rugged Absaroka Mountains east of Round Prairie, and the two collared males 480M and 302M are tracked visiting the den.
I want to thank Dan Stahler of the Yellowstone Park wolf team for providing me with the bulk of the information.
April 30. Today Rick McIntrye told me that on Saturday morning they found that the Slough beta male 377M had died of his injuries.
Today, Sunday April 30, seven Sloughs were travelling together in Lamar Valley -- the alpha female 380F, the slightly limping alpha male, 490M, 527F, and the three yearlings. Slough 526F was by herself in Slough Creek. The two uncollared Slough wolves nicknamed "Sharp Right" and "Slight Right" haven't been seen for a few days.
The "unknown pack" doesn't seem to have pups, despite their dramatic occupation of the Slough's den. They seem content to mostly hang out in Slough Creek near the den site. Ten of the 12 "unknowns" were observed this morning.