Yellowstone Wolf Updates Thread

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Yellowstone Wolf Updates Thread

Post by WQ Project Coordinator » Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:24 pm

Here is an update about the current wolves in Yellowstone from someone that visits often:


The Druids returned to the Lamar for the first time since late June. Although their visit may have been brief, Kathie Lynch describes it all.

Her report.

- - - - -

Copyright By Kathie Lynch.

Just when I was wondering what excitement I’d write about for a late summer wolf report, the Druid Peak pack made a return visit to Lamar Valley! Early on the morning of August 1, nine Druids (five black and four gray) galloped down the low southern flank of Mt. Norris and emerged near the Chalcedony fan, headed toward their old rendezvous site in Lamar. They had made a similar boundary check one week earlier, but prior to that had not been seen in Lamar since June 30. I was thrilled since I had not seen them all summer!

Alpha female 569F playfully led the mission to check out all the spots the Slough Creek pack had visited just two days earlier. Three years old and a petite, lovely, light gray, 569F is the last survivor of the last litter sired by the great Druid alpha, 21M. She stepped up to the alpha female role after the disappearance last December of her littermate, last year’s alpha female, 529F. This is the second year 569F has borne “grandpups” of 21M, last year as the mate of beta male 302M and this year as the mate of alpha male 480M.

The border patrol group included 480M, 302M (looking big, black and fabulous, with no obvious evidence of his left rear leg injury from last February), the huge, handsome dark gray yearling 570M and his smaller gray sister 571M, plus four more yearlings, one gray and three black. Only two yearlings (one gray and one black) and this year’s seven pups were not with them. (Yes, seven pups—not six as previously reported. The weekly flight recently saw four grays and three blacks!)

We were thrilled to witness a great show as the nine Druids frisked along to the west as far as their old rendezvous area behind the middle and western foothills. Along the way, they scent-marked and rallied with lots of tail wagging (but no howling) around sites the Sloughs had visited. The yearlings had “the tears” and streaked every which way, leaping over each other’s backs and goofing off like a bunch of rowdy teenagers. The group got very excited when they flushed out a raggedy-looking bison cow still sporting remnants of last winter’s coat; she looked like she was on her last legs. However, after toying with her a bit, the adults lost interest, and they left her to live another day.

At one point, the Druids looked like an advancing army as they came straight toward us with all nine strung out in an impressive row across the green grass and sage of the valley floor. Through our scopes, we watched with great anticipation as they dropped into stalking positions. One of the yearlings, a jet black beauty, showed all the makings of a great hunter as he or she crouched low and crept forward. We were as surprised as the wolves when we discovered that their prey was a flock of Canada geese. You can imagine how that hunt ended!

After an hour or two, and with much rollicking and good spirits, the group headed back to the east and up into the tree line near Chalcedony. Hopefully they will return again soon to remind the Slough Creek pack that Lamar Valley is traditional Druid territory. It will be interesting to see what happens this fall and winter when, if all pups survive, the 18 Druids (11 adults and seven pups) contend with the 22 Sloughs (9 adults and 13 pups).

In other pack news, the Hayden Valley pack has continued to provide fairly reliable wolf watching since their move to their new rendezvous site. They are often visible east of the road near Alum Creek, two miles south of the Otter Creek picnic area. Various members of the pack of four adults and five pups appear briefly as they cross open gaps between the trees, perhaps 600 yards away. The pups (four gray and one black) chew on sticks, rough house and tumble around. Sometimes they adventure on their own or follow an adult on little excursions. The white alpha female, 540F, often lies flat out on the gravel bar near the river for hours in the sun. While the viewing isn’t nearly as close as it was across from the Otter Creek picnic area, it is always a treat to see Yellowstone’s famous white wolf and her family, and they continue to teach many park visitors about the ways of wolves.

The Sloughs’ rendezvous site remains out of view, but the adults have continued to visit Lamar Valley. They even ventured farther east than the old Druid rendezvous recently to feed on a deer carcass brought down single-handedly by the gray Slough female, “Sharp Right.” They also fed on a bison carcass just south of the road which was very visible from Coyote overlook. We don’t know what killed the bison, but a grizzly soon took over the carcass and camped out on it for more than two days. The Slough alpha male did return to feed on it at least once while the griz was on it, but the other Sloughs stayed away across the valley. Tired of waiting for the grizzly to depart, the Sloughs made their own kill, a bull elk, farther to the east in Lamar.

The Agate Creek pack remains elusive, with only occasional sightings of various individuals. They were twice seen in the hills northeast of last summer’s rendezvous area along Dunraven Pass road. Looking directly east into the haze of the rising sun, one morning I could just make out the shapes of five adults as they romped downhill and out of sight into Antelope Creek. I was sure one was former alpha 113M, and he looked grand! Two more individuals, which may have been pups, remained bedded along the ridge. The Agates are thought to have nine pups in two litters (sired by new alpha 383M and out of alpha 472F and beta 471F).

We finally got some much needed rain recently, and, amazingly, the hills instantly greened up to look like spring again. However, you know it’s August when you see the bison in the rut in Hayden Valley, Little America, and Lamar Valley. It is an amazing spectacle as the bulls bellow and grunt while they try to cut a cow out of the herd. The cow usually looks like she’d like to find a way to outmaneuver the bull, but he shadows her every move. Since all of this is either visible from the road or actually on the road, the resulting traffic jams are legendary.

We have had all kinds of other interesting wildlife sightings, including a moose cow who swam the Yellowstone River near the Hayden Valley wolf watchers and four big bull elk who marched across the road in leisurely single file on the Blacktail Plateau. Bears continue to be visible in abundance, with one devoted watcher spotting 25 grizzlies a few days ago! The griz sow with two cubs of the year is still delighting visitors with regular near (and on!) the road appearances on Dunraven Pass.

It is such a treat to share the joy and excitement of visitors as they experience the wonder of seeing wolves and other wildlife for the first (or hundredth!) time. No matter the season or wildlife viewing passion, Yellowstone is sure to impress!

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Post by Whitefang2331 » Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:38 pm

Thanks! thats cool. 25 Grizzely bears?! cool! 8)

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Re: Yellowstone Wolf Update

Post by arctic-wolf » Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:12 am

Wow, that's cool! I want to go to Yellowstone!!!

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Re: Yellowstone Wolf Update

Post by Fangs of Fire » Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:15 am

That was long and interesting report. Thanks.

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Re: Yellowstone Wolf Update

Post by Spottedpelt » Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:57 am

Wow lotsa grizzlies!
*I have left the forum, nice knowing you*

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Update on Wolves in Yellowstone --Sighting report

Post by WQ Project Coordinator » Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:52 am

I know that this looks like a lot of writing, but here is a report of wolf sighting in Yellowstone. Someday I'll get to see them there...
Wolfwatching on Dunraven
by Salle Engelhardt

Yesterday I was given the day off and decided to take my brand new 10×42 binoculars out and see how well they work for my needs in the Park. They were as good as any spotting scope I have used.

I originally wanted to go see the now famous grizzly sow with the four cubs again but was not able to catch up with her while I was on the mountain. There were also four black nears near the Dunraven Trailhead but I never saw them either. I concluded that it was a wolf watching day instead so I went down the northern slope and parked about halfway down.

Within minutes I spotted a big black wolf on the eastern edge of the floodplain on the valley floor. Moments later there was a large gray that emerged from the deep creek bed, wandered over to the shady spot where the black wolf lay, they “talked” a moment and the gray went off in a northwesterly direction.A few minutes later a French couple showed up and wondered at what I was watching. As we sat on the edge of the grass and talked about the wolves, sharing my bino’s, I decided that I didn’t really know enough about this pack so I cheated, I called Ralph from a cell phone and asked him about the pack. While I was speaking to Ralph, several other wolves emerged from the creek bed until there were seven of them visible. Three blacks, four grays. One gray is so light that its whiter parts look alabaster in the sunlight, another is so dark that it looks like it has light dappling on a dark, almost black, background. the other grays look silvery in the sun.

I was able to sit and watch for almost three hours. As I watched, many tourists stopped to watch too. Most didn’t have sufficient lenses to see well so I shared mine with most of them. A couple folks with spotting scopes arrived off and on, they were very willing to share their scopes also. Never met anyone who wouldn’t share a scope.

It seems that most wolf watchers are plenty excited to have others see the wolves so they can share in the joy of it. Many said that using the better lenses so they could really SEE the wolves well enough to feel confident that they really are wolves certainly made their day, some said it made their whole trip to Yellowstone complete. A few commented that it was great to KNOW that the wolves are there but it’s many times more exciting to actually be able to catch just a glimpse of them for confirmation. Others said that the wolves were what they drove, for days, to see.

It’s certainly good to know that the people who do stop to watch are fascinated with the idea that something has been “put back” to they way it should have been, even though it can never be just as it was or would have been without human interference.

Until my next venture into the Yellowstone…
Salle
This was posted on Ralph Maughan's Wildlife News Blog.
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Re: Update on Wolves in Yellowstone --Sighting report

Post by WQ Project Coordinator » Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:56 am

Here is a follow up sighting posted:
heavenabove Says:
September 4th, 2007 at 9:35 am

I also watched these wolves on August 27th and 28th. The black one was just stinking about. Rolling around and pouncing at voles I guess. The gray one was running. One afternoon, a fairly large pup was pouncing around. I didn’t see any other wolves in the open when this pup was playing. On the 26th, I went to the Hayden Pack den by Otter Creek. I did not see the white wolf or the pups at all, but another lighter colored wolf came out at dusk to get a drink an walk around.
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Re: Update on Wolves in Yellowstone --Sighting report

Post by Vail » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:05 pm

Thats very interesting we where gunna go to Yellowstone this summer because I have always wanted to go there but my grandparents wante dus to go see them in vancouver so thats what we did, maybe next year.
And I would have cried to see a black wolf their my favorite with those big yellow eyes I always play a black wolf when I roleplay and the story I guess you could call book i'm writing the main charecter is a black wolf named Vail.
I wont get to into that though. I have only seen two grey wolves in the wild and I saw what seemed to be a wolf in some agriculture thing that I went on a field trip on in grade 8. But it kinda looked more like a coyote and his name was Wile just like Wile coyote from bugs bunny so maybe it was a coyote but people where calling it a wolf so I was like ok then. And then of course I've seen the wolf pack in the Calgary zoo numorous times as they have seen me :3
But yeah that man is very lucky to have seen a pack like that and I hopesomeday when I go to yellowstone I will see them aswell.


Btw is that your dog in your dp? Hes very cute I have a Jack ressel also very cute not nearly as big though. :shock:
-Vail

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Re: Amusing Video of Maya from the International Wolf Center

Post by Whitefang2331 » Wed Sep 12, 2007 4:18 pm

Thats cute.

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Latest news on the Yellowstone Wolf Packs---Many large packs

Post by WQ Project Coordinator » Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:49 am

Yellowstone Park: Northern range packs are all large. Winter may be interesting

By Ralph Maughan o

As autumn begins, for the first time not only are all of the packs on the Yellowstone Park northern range large, they are all almost equal in size.

The Park pup count for the year is quite accurate and pup survival was high, but it is harder keep track of the adults, so with the possibility of being off 2 or 3, basically the situation is this: Druid Peak 20 wolves, Agate Creek 20 wolves, Oxbow Creek 20 wolves, Leopold 20 wolves, Slough Creek 20 wolves.

The Slough adults are all females except for one male born to the pack some time ago, and a brand new alpha male who came from the Agates. The previous Slough alpha, now decreased, had seized the opportunity to became the pack’s leading male while he was just a yearling because of the sex ratio imbalance. He killed about a month ago by a vehicle in the Park. He was quickly replaced by another yearling male from the nearby Agates. He is also uncollared and unnumbered. The older male in the Slough Creek pack is likely the son of the alpha female so that is why he has not advanced to alpha status. Field studies and especially genetic studies of Park wolves show they strongly avoid inbreeding. This was confirmed in the findings of the recently released ‘The genealogy and genetic viability of reintroduced Yellowstone grey wolves.” VonHoldt, et al. Molecular Ecology (2007).

To the south a bit, the Hayden Valley Pack remained visible to people all year with its 5 adults and 4 pups. Nine wolves is a substantial pack, but they have an overlapping territory with the larger Gibbon Park of 10-12 adults and 2-4 pups (good pup sightings were never made for this hard-to-see-pack). The Haydens are also in contention with the brawny bison-killing Mollies Pack (8-9 adults and 5 pups).

The Hayden Pack alpha pair have become about the most photographed wolves in the Park’s history. They are now both relatively old. In their territory they need to be able to kill bison to make it through the winter. In the summer there are elk plus a convenient carcass dump in the vicinity (for animals hit on the Park roads). I learned about the dump while wolf watching this summer from folks who had been following the pack.

Dr. Doug Smith told me that studies have shown that the ability for a wolf pack to kill bison is different than killing elk (where speed is an advantage, something more typical of female wolves). Successful bison-killing packs are like Mollies. They have a number of large, strong male wolves.

While I don’t have a run down on the rest of the Park’s packs, I want to mention the Bechler Pack because I had no information about them this year until today.

They continue to inhabit the SW corner of Yellowstone (Bechler Meadows), but they do sometimes leave that vicinity. Two weeks ago they were tracked near Lewis Lake. That’s interesting because an Idaho State University student trip to the backcountry in that area heard wolves howling. This is not usually a place you hear that.

The Bechler Pack has 10-12 adults and 4-5 pups.

The Park population is up for the second year in a row after the big crash, although the mid-year estimate of about 175 is probably an overestimate because the adult wolf count for mid-year was mostly based on that of late last winter.

Factoring in the Yellowstone Park wolf increase, we see that it accounts for much of the Wyoming increase at mid-year as reported by ED Bangs the other day.
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Re: Latest news on the Yellowstone Wolf Packs---Many large packs

Post by coyote » Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:37 pm

that's interesting, i didn't know that packs kill more of certain prey depending on how many females or males are in the pack...

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Re: Latest news on the Yellowstone Wolf Packs---Many large packs

Post by Chiibii » Wed Sep 26, 2007 3:20 pm

Wow. That's so cool. I love how wolves are never alone and always hunt/live in packs. :]
Why? Why do humans always look to the sky? Why do you try so hard to fly when you don't have any wings? We'll run on our own legs.

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Mollies kills Hayden alpha pair-Yellowstone Wolf Dynamics

Post by WQ Project Coordinator » Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:15 am

Mollies Pack has killed the well known alpha pair of the Hayden Valley Pack.

I don’t have the details as to how it happened yet, but the Hayden Pack was being increasingly pressed by the larger Gibbon Pack from the SW and west and Mollies Pack from the SE.

Remaining, but with their fate not bright, are the pack’s two sub-adults and the 5 pups.
Here is the website for more information:
http://wolves.wordpress.com/2007/10/31/ ... /#comments

These two wolves were very visible to the public and especially notable because the dominant female was a white wolf. This is part of how the world of wolves works though, sad as it may be.

Here is a link to a beautiful picture of her with a carcass.
http://www.pbase.com/tspringer/image/62394073
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Re: Mollies kills Hayden pack leader pair-Yellowstone Wolf Dynam

Post by WQ Project Coordinator » Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:26 am

Here is an incredible set of photos of the dominant pair.

Check them out:
http://www.yellowstoneecology.com/photo ... /index.htm
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Re: Mollies kills Hayden pack leader pair-Yellowstone Wolf Dynam

Post by LonerWhiteWolf » Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:09 am

aww there so cuteee!
<.< expect the unexpected >.>

Don’t drink and drive, cause you might hit a bump and spill. C:
Ha.

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