Yellowstone wolf report. Enormous change in pack compositions

Are the Sloughs gone? Plus five new wolf groups-

As wolf mortality has increased there has been a general redistribution of wolves in the Northern Range. All the packs are affected, even the Druids.

The Slough Creek Pack may no longer be intact. Two more dead members of the pack have been found and the only male in the pack, who wears the only functioning radio collar has been seen traveling alone.

As Kathie Lynch reported in her last wolf update, five members of the Druids (all males) left that pack. Since then they have found 5 females of other packs (perhaps all Agate). Leaders for the time being seem to be the famous old lover boy, Druid 302M and either a 2 year old Agate female or another Agate female nicknamed “halftail” because she lost half of her tail when run over by a van last year. This new group is being called the 302/642 group (named after the wolves with radio collars). They are one of 3 groups of wolves that are part of this year’s winter study.

The Agate Pack has no more functioning radio collars, so their status is not known.

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Three wolf packs in elk migration corridor probably set conditions for the Mollies/Hayden conflict

Earlier story: Mollies Pack kills Hayden alpha pair

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Dan Stahler of the Yellowstone Park wolf team told me today that Hayden, Mollies and Gibbon packs have all been in Hayden Valley the last weeks because it is a major elk migration corridor from summer range to the south to the northern range. The packs are well aware of this and show up every October.

He said about a week ago Bob Landis saw the Mollies chasing the Haydens. Mollies and Gibbon have also been howling back and forth a lot.

No one is known to have seen the actual attack.

The bleeding alpha female was spotted first. She retreated to the trees in a spot she knew was comfortable. Stahler spotted her body the next day from the air with ravens on it.

Wondering about the Hayden alpha male, he soon spotted him dead in Cascade Meadow. This is where the Haydens, at least probably the Haydens, had killed an elk. At the time a grizzly was on the carcass and now he has buried it. Also at the time Mollies Pack was only a mile away.

Reports are today Mollies is chasing the remaining Haydens and could finish them off.

Stahler did say, however, that if the Haydens survive the next while it is possible a Mollies wolf or two could come and join with the Haydens. He said there is pack aggressive behavior that often disappears when several weeks pass and the pack is more spread out. One or more wolves might then return and engage in quite different behaviors, such as join the pack.

Currently there are 8 Mollies being seen, although earlier this summer 9 adults were counted and 6 Mollies pups. Perhaps some dispersed or are simply not with the eight.

It is not hopeless for the Haydens if they are not killed today or the next several days.