The Druid Peak Pack was once the largest known wolf pack, ever observed, with 37 wolves in the year 2001, but over the years members of the giant pack dispersed to form new packs, and then the long time alpha pair 21M and 42F died. 42F fell at the jaws of a rival pack and 21M, the well known alpha male just seemed to lay down a die several months later.
By the beginning of 2005 the pack was down to just 6 adults. In 2005 the much reduced pack had six pups, but they all died. The pack was pushed out of its traditional range, and its future looked grim, when as the winter of 2005-6 came with the pack reduced to just 4 adult wolves.
This last spring things looked even worse for the Druids when the larger rival pack, the Slough Creek Pack, denned, ready to produce more pups. A surprise to everyone, a new pack, called “the unknowns” showed up from unknown quarters and occupied the Slough Creek den site. As a result the Slough Pack, pupless, was disrupted.
The Druids were wary and appeared to take great care when approching their den site on a steep, forested mountain near Round Prairie in the NE corner of the Park. It was as though they did not want to reveal it to the Sloughs, who were licking their wounds or the “unknown pack.”
Surprisingly the Druids prevailed. The 4 Druid wolves crept up on the sleeping unknowns and give the interlopers a good licking. The unknowns soon disappeared for the area, and when the Druid Pack brought their new pup crop down from the heavily forested mountain to the meadows, there were an amazing 11 pups!
As summer came, the Druids went up to their traditional summering area, high on the east boundary of Yellowstone Park. There they are rarely seen by people, and seem to have no rival packs. Doug Smith, head of the Yellowstone wolf project, recently reported to me that unlike the 100% pup mortality last year, this year there is 100% survival. If this good fortune continues, the pack will soon be back among the largest in Yellowstone Park.