Yellowstone Park wolf update 5/13 flight

5/16/96.


Here are the results of the latest tracking flight of the Yellowstone wolves. It was on May 13. My information is primarily based on a news release from Yellowstone Park.

Readers may want to review my post of 2/1/96 that lists the numbers, color, weight, and original acclimation pen of the 1996 wolves.

Rose Creek Pack:
As my previous articles have indicated R9F has given birth to at least 3 pups (confirmed by direct observation). The den is located in the north part of lower Lamar Valley. The pack now has at least 12 members.

Crystal Creek Pack:
This pack from the 1995 introduction is still in the Lamar Valley. The female appears to have denned. Last year this highly visible pack had no pups. Since that time one pack member joined the Rose Creek Pack, and sired this year's Rose Creek pups. One member was shot by Animal Damage Control and one member (R2M) paired with R7F to form the Blacktail Pack (see below).

Blacktail Pack (official named "Leopold Pack"):
This pair, the first naturally-formed Yellowstone wolf pack in 75 years, is still on the Blacktail Deer Plateau as they have been for months. The female R7F, who is the 2 1/2 year old daughter of R9F, appears to have denned. The pack has been renamed the Leopold Pack in honor of famous conservationist
and writer Aldo Leopold.

Soda Butte Pack:
The four remaining members of this pack -- 13M, 14F, 15M, and 24F -- are still in the West Rosebud Creek drainage on the Beartooth Front near the Custer National Forest, but on private land. 14F has denned. Last winter two members of this pack dispersed and were both shot in separate illegal killings far south of the pack's normal range.

Druid Peak Pack:
This new pack from 1996 reintroductions was located once again in the Slough Creek drainage just north of Yellowstone Park in the Absaroka/Beartooth Wilderness. It looks like the pack did not den.

Chief Joseph Pack:
After a far-ranging exploration, this new pack that was released at Nez Perce Creek near the Lower Geyser Basin on the west side of the Pack, has reunited (all four members). They were located near the west entrance road near Mount Haynes. This is about three miles west of Madison Junction.

Remaining member of the Lone Star pair:
Male 35M, whose pregnant mate died after a fall into a hot spring, has not been located since April 15. This was a few days after the death of its mate, R36F. He was last located east of Lewis Lake in the southern part of Yellowstone Park.

The split-up Nez Perce wolves:
The large alpha male R38M has moved from the Monument Ridge area just NW of the Park to the Porcupine Creek drainage in the Gallatin Range just N by NW of the Park.

The sub-adult R29M was not located. He was last seen on May 8 in Paradise Valley near Mill Creek. The alpha female has denned near Nye, Montana in the Stillwater River drainage on the Custer National Forest. She may have at least five pups and appears to be by herself. This female R27F may be recaptured and raised with her pups in a pen in the Park as was R9F and her eight pups last year. It should be noted that recapture is not easy. Last year R9F had moved her pups, and biologists were lucky to find them.

None of R27F's three yearling daughters (26F, 30F, and 37F) were located on the May 13 flight.

Because wolves are not located on a flight does not mean something has happened to them as a review of my past articles will indicate.


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1996 Ralph Maughan
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