Note: I have received additional information from Jim Halfpenny. This article is revised from how I posted it this morning -- RM
The big Yellowstone wolf news this week is that seven or eight of the wolves that have been held in the Nez Perce Pen are going to be released very soon -- this week.
Plans are to release about seven now and the rest in May. Presumably the result will be at least two separate packs.
The release date for these wolves is earlier than previous reports from the NPS and Fish and Wildlife Service indicated. I am speculating that it may be due to the fact the one wolf escaped from the enclosure last week. The escaped wolf is no. 29M, one of 27F's offspring born in British Columbia and released originally last March only to be recaptured last summer. The escaped wolf is staying near the pen and is seen by folks feeding the wolves.
In a related story, one of no. 27's uncaptured and uncollared pups born last spring on the Beartooth Front was captured last week. Apparently the captured pup is no. 48. The whereabouts of nos. 49 and 50 is not known, but there is no reason to think they are not somewhere on the Beartooth Front. Wolf no. 48 has also been placed in the Nez Perce enclosure.
The circumstances under which all of these wolves came to be in the Nez Perce enclosure is complicated and unique. My past reports will fill you in if you have not followed it. This is also the first release where the wolves have spent such a long time in an enclosure. The previous releases came after about three months captivity. Most of these wolves have spent the bulk of their lives in the Rose Creek and then in the Nez Perce enclosure.
In other Yellowstone news, there isn't much news. The pack compositions and locations remain about the same as my mid-February update.
Jim Halfpenny reports that on his third Yellowstone wolf class of the winter, which just ended, "We did see one spectacular chase of 8 Rose Creek wolves on 3 cow elk. The elk won. It made a spectacular video."
There is no genetic determination yet if the "Boulder" aka "Big Sandy" "wolf" and the "Cody " "wolf" are/were hybrids, released pet wolves, dispersing uncollared reintroduced wolves, natural dispersers from NW Montana, or remnants of a native wolf population.