Update Report on the Jackson Hole area wolves

August 23, 2006

Earlier this year I wrote several reports on the wolves in the Jackson Hole area this year. As of late August the wolves continue to do well, but they are almost absent from the great valley. They're up in the mountains, and not easy to find.

Read, " Wyoming wolves: Teton Pack is crumbling, and another new Jackson Hole area pack?" June 14, 2006.

Since June both the Buffalo Pack and the Pacific Creek Pack have continued to prosper. The Pacific Creek Pack had 4-5 pups and the Buffalo had eleven!  Currently it has 8 or 9 adults, so it is a big pack even if some of the pups didn't make it.

The Pacific Creek Pack with 9 to 10 adults was born in the Teton Wilderness as a split from Yellowstone Park's Delta Pack, and they have spent the summer there, visible only to the veteran Wilderness traveler.

The Buffalo Pack has been wandering all over the Mt. Leidy Highlands and the Gros Ventre River drainage and mountains. Seeing them is a matter of chance, although good position data was collected by the GPS radio collar which dropped off the wolf and was retrieved as planned.

The newly discovered Sage Pack, with 2 adults and possible pups, made itself scarce to trackers. Both adults were collared. 481M, a refugee from Yellowstone's Nez Perce Pack got a GPS collar. The female (485F), a former Gibbon Meadows Pack wolf, was collared with a standard collar. Recently the GPS collar was chewed off and both wolves disappeared (was 485F's chewed off too?). A lot of collars have been chewed off by Yellowstone, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho wolves. Usually those chewed are on subordinate wolves who are more likely to be approachable this way by other pack members. Alphas are more likely to retain their collars, but not in this case.

Mike Jimenez reported that the antennae on the GPS collar are more likely to make it a target of playful pulling and chewing, but all collars are clearly visible and a likely target for wolf chewing. I have wondering if the per cent deployed that are chewed off has increased or whether the number lost this way is subject only to random fluctuations. I have also wondered if it is learned behavior, and even if dispersing wolves "educate" new packs.

The Flat Creek Pack, which has been missing to trackers, was finally found in its normal summer area in the Gros Ventre Mountains after collared former Druid wolf 350M joined the pack. They have 4 pups.

The Teton Pack continues to shrink. The 3-5 remaining wolves no longer visit Jackson Hole where they were once a pack of over twenty. They travel the dangerous (to wolves because of livestock) country between the upper Gros Ventre and the upper Green River.

A new Yellowstone boundary pack has just been identified. It ranges along the Yellowstone SW boundary, both inside the Park and to the south in the John D. Rockefeller Parkway on over to the northern end of the Tetons.

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