It looks like the Blacktails are now the largest pack on the Northern Range-
Kathie Lynch has written another report on the Yellowstone wolves (actually those on the Park’s northern range). My subhead above is just one of the many interesting facts I read in her report such as the Mollies alpha male is largest wolf in the Park.
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Yellowstone Wolf Notes. Dec. 09; Jan. 10. By Kathie Lynch
© Kathie Lynch
♦ Trips to Yellowstone in December 2009 and January 2010 provided better than expected wolf watching, considering the continuing decline in population size.
January 12, 2010, marked the fifteenth anniversary of the reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park. The year 2009 ended with less than 100 wolves in Yellowstone Park, down from 124 a year ago and close to half of the 171 counted just two years ago. The number has not been this low since just a few years after 31 wolves were reintroduced in 1995 and 1996.
The biggest current challenge some wolves are dealing with is sarcoptic mange, caused by a mite. It causes terrible itching and can kill through infection or hypothermia due to hair loss. However, wolves can recover from even severe cases, as the Mollies pack did last year.
The famous Druid Peak pack is currently the most severely affected. Every Druid wolf exhibits some degree of hair loss, especially on the tail, rear, back, legs and abdomen–anywhere they can bite and scratch at the itchy mite. It is a common sight to see them trying to sleep standing up to avoid exposing their bare spots to the cold, snowy ground.
The Druids have undergone big changes since the death of alpha female 569F last fall and the subsequent dispersal of alpha male 480M. These two wolves deserve immense credit (along with Druid 529F and Leopold/Druid/Blacktail 302M) for resurrecting the Druid Peak pack after it dwindled down to only legendary alpha 21M’s last two daughters (529F and 569F) in 2004.
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