Leopold Pack has 18 – 24 pups!

Pup counts are coming in from Yellowstone Park, but slowly because of the long cold wet season.

I thought perhaps 2008 might be another pup crash year because the Slough Creek Pack had a number of apparently pregnant females yet has only one surviving pup. Moreover no pups have been seen yet with the Druids.

On the other hand pups have been seen with Oxbow and Agate. The Leopolds might have as many as 24 pups! These pups clearly are from multiple litters because they are of differing sizes. No more than 18 pups have been seen at once, but photographic studies of the Leopold Pack show as many as 24 different pups.

All of the other packs seem to have denned, but pups have not been seen yet due to the long spell of bad weather which will probably rejuvenate the Park after a decade of drought.

There are no new packs, but two possible ones, both Leopold split-offs — the “469 group,” seen most recently in Swan Lake Flats and the “470F group,” which has no radio collars.

Mollies Pack has occupied the former territory of the Hayden Pack and are seen a lot further south in Hayden Valley as well as the Pelican.

The Hayden Pack is near Hebgen Lake, outside the Park. The wolf that was recently shot by Montana FWP near West Yellowstone after numerous close approaches to people and buildings had the coloration of a Hayden Pack wolf (light), but was not with the pack. It might have been an odd lone wolf from who knows where, but suspicion is that it was a dispersed Hadyen. I understand a tissue sample was taken to determine the matter.

Yellowstone Road Crews Struggle with Late Season Snow Storms

News release from Yellowstone Park. Yellowstone Road Crews Struggle with Late Season Snow Storms.

Doug Smith told me today that he had never seen so much water in the Park’s backcountry. The Yellowstone Delta’s den site, which is in the River delta, is basically a swim-to den, and would be flooded with any more rise of the Yellowstone River.

Did wolf pose threat to bear hunter?

This story made some news in Montana. It was discussed briefly in this forum (no post, however). No doubt it will enter anti-wolf legends library.

Here is the standard story by the outdoors editor of the Billings Gazette. Truly a blast from the wolf past
By Mark Henckel. Billings Gazette.

Brian Peck, however, did some investigating of his own.

Peck reported:

Over the last several days, I’ve spoken to Kent Laudon (FWP Wolf Specialist) and Lee Anderson (FWP Chief Warden) regarding the wolf killed last week near Olney in “self-defense.” Here’s the latest info.:

The hunter was walking along a USFS road when the 2 wolves emerged from the brush about 15-20 yards away. The larger wolf continued across the road and up a hill. The smaller wolf – a 1-2 year old female – made a 90 degree turn toward the hunter and trotted toward him on the same side of the road he was on, until she was about 10 feet away. The hunter felt afraid for his safety and shot the wolf from the hip at that distance. The deliberate movement in his direction, rather than any other clear aggressive posture or sound from the wolf, was the only reason given by the hunter for feeling threatened.

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Obama opposes B.C. coal mine near Glacier National Park

Rescue may be on the way to the threatened wild country just north of the U.S. border in British Columbia. It depends on the outcome of the U.S. election.

Some folks on this forum, including myself, have complained about the failure by the candidates to talk about specific conservation issues. Obama’s positiion was announced when he was campaining in the Montana primary election.

These open pit coal mine/coalbed methane plans in the North Fork of the Flathead River don’t seem to have support anywhere in Montana because all of the costs flow into Montana and none of the benefits. Many, of course, are concerned about the inherent value of this wonderful wild country.

Story in Canada.com. Obama opposes B.C. coal mine. Canwest News Service

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Human caused deaths driving grizzlies toward extinction in Banff N. P.

The train route through the Park is the major killer, but hardly the only human source of mortality.

Story. Grizzly bear decline blamed on humans. Trains top killers in Banff, Jasper parks, says report. Cathy Ellis, The Calgary Herald