Here is the latest update on the Yellowstone wolves. It is
a few days late because I have been backpacking in the Pinyon
Peak Highlands just south of Yellowstone Park for a week --
a place where it would be nice to have some wolves.
This information is based on tracking flights of June 7- 8, 1996 and
provided by Yellowstone Park Public Affairs. Additional information
below is my own. Readers may want to compare this with the
update of June 4, "YNP update; "recapturing wolves ain't easy."
SODA BUTTE PACK
As described in a previous article, all but one of this pack (6 out
of 7) were recaptured, including the three new pups. They remain
in good health in the Crystal Creek Bench acclimation pen. No 15M
escaped capture. Biologists hope no. 15 will return to the Park.
The Idaho Falls "Post Register" and the "Jackson Hole News" both
did feature stories on the recapture. The "Post Register" had
a full color (of the pups) front page story. Park biologist, Mike
Phillips, crawled deep into a well-dug den to grab the pups.
It hasn't been decided when or where the Soda Butte Pack will be
released, but it is not likely to be in the northern part of the
Park because of the obvious competition and territoriality that
has developed among wolves there. The "wolfless" southern part of
Yellowstone National Park is the likely release location.
LONE STAR MALE
Reports that R35F, who lost his mate to a hot spring, was in Eastern
Idaho have proven true. The black male was located about 15 miles
south of Island Park, Idaho. This would be near Big Bend Ridge (the
southern rim of the Island Park caldera). No. 35 had not been located
since April 15, when he was tracked in deep snow east of Lewis Lake
in Yellowstone Park.
CRYSTAL CREEK PACK
The two remaining members of this depleted pack -- the alpha female
R5F, and her likely son, R6M -- were located again in the Lamar Valley.
No. 5 has been observed as showing signs of injury, indicating that she too
may have been hurt in the fight with the new Druid Peak Pack that
recently killed her mate, wolf 4M.
DRUID PEAK PACK
All five members of this pack were found in the NE corner of the Park.
This, I assume, means Soda Butte Creek, Pebble Creek, the Lamar Valley
or the nearby ridges.
LEOPOLD (formerly Blacktail Pair)
As has always been the case, this pair was located somewhere on the
expanse of the Blacktail Deer Plateau in the northern part of the Park.
The female R7 has been assumed to be tending pups, although there has
been no visual confirmation.
As has usually been the case, females R32F and R33F were located with
what may be the dominant male R34M. They have moved from the west
side of the Park to north of the NW corner of the Park in the headwaters
of Tom Miner Creek. The other wolf released with the pack, 31M, was by
himself and still near the Madison River, a few miles east of the Park boundary
community of West Yellowstone, Montana.
ROSE CREEK PACK
There is still no change here. Biologists have seen three pups. The
alpha female R9 has moved the den twice. Visitors to the Lamar Valley
occasionally spot the pack.
NEZ PERCE PACK
Biologists are still trying to recapture the far-flung remnants of
this pack, in part because they don't want the bison-killing know-
ledge these wolves possess to be lost.
It is still not known whether alpha female R27's pups are alive
or dead. No. 27 remained in the Stillwater River drainage north
of the Park. The big alpha male R28M was located in the NW part
of the Park. Female yearlings R26F and R30F were east of the Park
at the southern end of Sunlight Basin. Female yearling R37F and her
brother, male yearling R29F remained reunited. They moved eastward
out of Paradise Valley into the rugged Absaroka Mountains of Montana.
Paradise Valley begins about ten miles north the Park's north entrance.
In my view, the valley is aptly named; but like almost every piece
of private ground with a paved road within 50 miles of Yellowstone,
it is being rapidly cut into shreds by sub-dividers.
© 1996 Ralph Maughan
Not to be reprinted, archived, redistributed, etc., without permission.
© 1996 Ralph Maughan