The great thing about Yellowstone Park wolf packs is that they are never “controlled.” The largest source of wolf mortality is other wolves. Yellowstone wolves don’t rely much on smaller prey like deer, and so we find large and complex wolf packs that show behavior not seen elsewhere.
This article in the JH News and Guide is about these big YNP wolf packs. YNP wolf packs large, old versus other wolves. By Cory Hatch.
Regarding USFWS biologist Mike Jimenez’s comments that “smaller packs do just fine anyway,” it depends on what you are interested in.
We want to be able to study wolves in a natural setting, and Yellowstone Park may not be representative of how wolves behave naturally in other places. Yellowstone, for example, is not really very productive elk country. The large visible elk herds are the result of little human interference, just as are the large wolf packs.
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I should add there there are some large and complex wolf packs in central Idaho. They are not systematically observed, with one exception.