Big surprise! Central Idaho wolf is in the Greybull Pack

June 12, 2002, updated June 14 and June 18

Since the Greybull Pack in Wyoming was discovered last year, biologists have been trying to catch one of 5 or 6 adults in the pack.

This week they did, but the wolf already had a collar, albeit non-functioning. The wolf was B58M, who originated in Idaho's Thunder Mountain Pack. By 2001, B58 had traveled from his native pack southeast about 150 miles to Copper Basin. He remained in the Copper Basin vicinity (still in Central Idaho) for several months . Then he was lost, but in fact he traveled about 300 linear miles (and much more on the ground) to join with or help form Wyoming's most southeasterly pack -- The Greybull.

I believe this is the first known instance where an Idaho wolf has migrated into the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), and a long way at that because the Greybull River is almost east of the GYE.

Wyoming federal wolf manager Mike Jimenez said the pack appeared to have some pups this year.

6-14 addition (Background). Wolf B58M was part of the Thunder Mountain Pack's first litter (back in 1998).  The pack inhabits part of the west side of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in west central Idaho. The Thunder Mountain Pack was founded in 1998 by wolf B22F (introduced from B.C. in 1966) and a male without a collar (thought to be a wolf that pre-existed the reintroduction).

The pack had 2 other important dispersers besides B58M. B58's brother, B57M moved about 95 miles to the south to help found the Big Smoky Pack, which was for a while, Idaho's most southerly pack.

Another brother, B59M, traveled 50 miles to the SE to reform the Twin Peaks Pack, which had prospered for several years until it was mostly killed off by the government like 3 other packs (White Clouds, Stanley, and Whitehawk) to satisfy the interests of a few Custer County, Idaho livestock operators. With B59 and his mate (thought to be a member of the original pack that survived the government kill-off), the Twin Peaks Pack was regenerated in 2001 with 7 pups, but had disappeared again by the end of 2002.

The Thunder Mountain Pack still thrives in Idaho with 7 pups in 1999, 3 pups in 2000, and 9 pups in 2001.

6-18 addition. Statement by Curt Mack, Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator. Nez Perce Tribe.

Missing Thunder Mountain wolf B58 has been located again near Meeteetse, Wyoming.  B58 is a four-year-old grey male wolf born into the Thunder Mountain pack in 1998.  He dispersed from his natal pack as a 2-year-old in early spring of 2000.

He was sporadically located within Idaho through that summer and fall.  He was last located in the Copper Basin area near Arco, Idaho during the fall of 2000 and has been missing until last week.

On the 9th of June trappers, working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wolf Recovery Program, captured B58 while attempting to collar wolves in the Greybull River pack in Wyoming.  The Greybull River pack was first documented last summer in 2001.  The pack is thought to consist of 5 adult wolves and pups are suspected this year.<

The status of B58 in the Greybull pack is not confirmed, but he may be the alpha male.  It is also not clear how long B58 has been with this pack, although it is possible that he was with the pack when the pack was first discovered last summer.  Further collaring and monitoring efforts will determine more about the status of B58 and the Greybull

River pack.  B58 traveled a total straight-line distance of over 330 miles from his natal pack’s territory in Idaho to Copper Basin and on to Wyoming.  This is the first documented Idaho wolf to have dispersed into Wyoming and the Yellowstone Experimental Population Area.

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