Yellowstone Park Wolf Miscellany
Aug. 12, 2002
Here is some miscellaneous wolf news from Yellowstone Park.
There are presently about 65 identified pups born this year. Of those wolves apparently capable of producing pups -- potential breeding pairs -- eleven of 12 had pups. The only pair not to was former Druid 105F and her 2 companion wolves.
Recently 2 pups have been identified in Molly's Pack (never a large pup producer) and 2 in the Nez Perce Pack. Seven pups were finally seen with the Chief Joseph Pack which did indeed den in its traditional drainage -- Daly Creek -- after a major effort to keep the pack of denning in Cinnabar Basin or Tom Miner Basin (both of which are previous alternative den sites north of Yellowstone).
The Rose Creek II Pack, still led by venerable 18F and her mate 207M, has largely moved north of the Park, perhaps due to increased competition with the many packs that emerged from the breakup of the Druid Pack.
One of the Geode Pack's (106F's) members was recently found dead in the Park, and the suspicion is the death was due to inter-pack conflict with the Leopold Pack. Earlier this year, the alpha female of the Leopold Pack (7F) was killed, probably from wolves in the Geode Pack.
Six of the 9, 2002 pups of the main Druid Pack have survived to mid-August. Recent email from a long time wolf observer told me that the alpha pair 21M and 42F appeared to be healthy and in good condition.
Dr. Doug Smith recently observed his second encounter of the year between the Yellowstone Delta Pack and a grizzly bear, which the pack seemed to think was too close to its pups.
For the story on the first encounter see, http://forwolves.org/ralph/yellowstone-delta-grizzly.htm
This time a grizzly was observed in the pack's rendezvous site. The pack was barking and trying to keep the grizzly from the pups. One pup ran to within 10 meters of the grizzly, which did not chase the pup. The grizzly was finally "escorted" from the area by 2 wolves who possibly (as with the first griz) bit it in the rear.
I asked Dr. Smith if the hypothesis that there is increasing bear-wolf conflict in the Park was reasonable, and he agreed. So perhaps the hypothesis will be tested as research continues.
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