Answers to some wolf questions

Doug Breakwell posted a comment that was interesting, but also to a thread I’d rather keep clear, so I answer his questions below. Ralph Maughan
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Doug Breakwell wrote:
April 11, 2009 at 4:45 AM

This is a great site to keep updated on whats happening to wolves
especially if you do not live in the U.S. Today I have some questions that I hope your readers can help with.
1)what happened to wolf R29m? I know he’s deceased but how did he meet his end? The last information I can find on him states that he became the alpha male of the Gros Venture pack.
2) Who was and currently is the biggest wolf in Yellowstone and how big were/are they?
3) As the reports state that they Yellowstone wolves are getting bigger , what is the possibility of an extreme sized wolf similar to the 70 mile river wolf of 175lbs or the Poltavski wolf of 189lbs?
4) The wolf report of 1997 has a 52.3kg pup recorded in it, anyone know who this pup is and what happened to him?

Doug,

Here are some answers:

1. The famous escape artists wolf R29M was displaced or left the the Gros Ventre Pack, but was (maybe) last seen in the general area in 2002.  On my old web site I have tables showing what happened to all to the reintroduced wolves. It also gives their weight at capture in Canada. The links are below.

2. I’m not sure which is the biggest wolf in Yellowstone Park right now because I haven’t acquired their 2009 capture data, but the biggest one caught in the past was R6M, who weighed 141 pounds. He was killed by an elk in 1998.
3. Yellowstone wolves are not getting bigger. They seem to be getting smaller, probably because they not as well fed as the early wolves. The possibility of the 175 or 189 pound wolf is very low, although not impossible. After all, there are humans that are 8 feet tall. Extremely large individuals are usually not very healthy. Their large size alone means they will probably soon become afflicted with arthritis.

4.  I can’t find my 1997 wolf capture report. I can’t answer the question unless you have the pup’s collar number.

Update From Ken Cole 4/11/09: Here is a graph showing the weights of all wolves from Yellowstone that I have information for as well as the original Idaho re-introduced wolves.  I’ve added a trendline to the graph which shows a slight decrease in weight over time.  However, when only wolves described as adults are included there appears to be a slight increase in weight as shown in the lower graph. Read the rest of this entry »