June 23, 1998
As of today, about 112 wolves, which includes pups from this year's breeding season, and compiled in 10 groups, inhabit the Greater Yellowstone Area. Eight of the 10 groups have established territories in Yellowstone National Park or just bordering the park. The ninth group, the Washakie Pack, continues to inhabit National Forest land in and around the DuNoir Valley south of Yellowstone. The tenth pair, #41, a female, and #52, a male, have been located just east of Yellowstone in Sunlight Basin. The Leopold Pack has moved south of the Blacktail Plateau. The Nez Perce Pack was release from an acclimation pen on Monday, June 22nd. Wolf Project crews are intensively monitoring the movements of this group since their release. Number 29 and #48, a female wolf, have likely denned near the Nez Perce Creek area and have probably produced pups.
The five yearlings from the Thorofare Group were not located during a flight this past weekend. They were previously located in the Heart Lake region of Yellowstone.
The alpha female from the Washakie Group was killed on June 21st in a management action by Wildlife Services. Four yearlings from the group remain. The hope is that these wolves will leave the DuNoir Valley area and find better habitat away from ranch land.
The Soda Butte Pack has moved back into Yellowstone Park, south of Yellowstone Lake. This pack has not produced pups this year.
A total of 27 wolves in Yellowstone have been radio-collared this year in an effort to better monitor, manage, and study the animal. Contrary to media reports, the decision to collar Yellowstone area wolves was made prior to Judge Downes decision, and therefore is not connected with the ruling. The court ruling has not altered operations by wolf project staff. Monitoring, management, and study of Yellowstone area wolves is proceeding as planned. In all, 42 wolves are currently collared in the Yellowstone area.
With the 1998 denning season in full swing, wolf project field crews have observed 5 packs or females with pups of the year. It has been confirmed that the alpha female of the Chief Joseph Pack has produced at least 7 pups. Female #67 of the Nez Perce Pack has also whelped and is caring for four pups. In addition, #16, a lone female, has also been observed with 6 pups. Biologists have not determined which wolf has bred her. During a recent flight over the weekend, biologists observed the Leopold Pack with four pups. The famous female wolf #9 and her daughter #18 have also been observed by wolf project field crews with 10 pups. They were probably both bred by the alpha male #8. These 2 wolves shared the same den, which is fairly uncommon in the wild. The Rose Creek Pack has now moved away from the den to a rendezvous site far in Yellowstone's backcountry. This will be #9's fourth litter of pups since first being reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995. In all, 31 pups in 5 groups have been observed by field and air crews. It is expected that as many as 50 pups will be born into the Yellowstone ecosystem this year.