Wolf mating season on the greatly reconfigured Yellowstone northern range

The Druids are the only northern range pack still intact. New packs and groups abound-

Due to the complexity of the changes on the northern range, I know it took Kathie several weeks to write this. Ralph Maughan

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Yellowstone wolf report. Feb. 15-22, 2009. By © Kathie Lynch.

A week in Yellowstone, Feb. 15-22, 2009, during the height of the wolf breeding season, provided plenty of action and lots of surprises.

The Druid Peak pack actually was not the main attraction, as they were way up the Lamar River and out of sight most of the time.

However, the Druid’s many dispersers have contributed to the formation and gene pool of quite a few other packs or groups, including: the newly named Blacktail Pack (started by former Druid beta 302M and five Druid male yearlings-grandchildren of the great Druid alpha 21M); 694F’s Group (which includes the two Druid two-year-old females 694F/”High Sides” and “Dull Bar”-both also 21M’s grandchildren); the newly named Cottonwood Group (started by 527F, who was born to 21M and 42F, but dispersed to the Slough Creek pack and then dispersed to form her own pack in 2007); and even the Agate Creek pack (whose long-time alpha female, 472F, was also the offspring of 21M and 42F). The blood of 21M still runs strong.

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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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Kathie Lynch: Northern Range wolf upate

The Druids are doing well . . . the rest, not-

Kathie Lynch just wrote one of her detailed and descriptive wolf updates. It follows below.

Please note her plea for donations to the Park’s wolf program.

Thanks Kathie!

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Yellowstone wolf notes posted on Nov. 16, 2008. Copyright © Kathie Lynch

An early November trip to Yellowstone provided close up views of the Druid Peak pack and the Canyon group. I had the good fortune to be at Curve pullout (west end of Little America) when 20 of the 21 Druids crossed the road nearby. They all looked great, including, of course, our 8 ½ -year-old hero, the dashing 302M!

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Kathie Lynch: Druid Pups and interesting Hayden/Canyon news

Kathie Lynch is spending the summer in Yellowstone. This is her first report of the summer. The Druid pups have finally been seen, and there are at least nine.

Ralph Maughan

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YNP WOLF Notes, June 16-July 5, 2008
By © Kathie Lynch

Yellowstone’s late spring rain and snow finally gave way to sunny summer skies in mid June. While the glowing green hills sparkled with a spectacular patchwork of wildflowers, raging rivers and muddy creeks spilled over their banks. An unbelievably beautiful carpet of yellow dandelions, studded with peacefully grazing bison, spread across the Lamar Valley floor. Wildlife watchers reveled in the renewal of life as they waited eagerly for news and glimpses of wolf pups.

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Kathie Lynch: Numerous pregnant Slough females, but just one pup

Kathie Lynch just wrote another of her popular reports on Yellowstone wolves. Very few pups have been seen so far. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there, but in the case of the Slough Creek Pack, they aren’t there.

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Copyright © by Kathie Lynch. May 30, 2008

Every living thing awakened to the glory of springtime in Yellowstone over Memorial Day weekend. From the green, green grass and aspens just starting to sprout new leaves to a playful little wolf pup and the charm of frisky, newborn bison calves, spring has definitely sprung!

The Slough Creek pack provided the main entertainment as they happily tended what appears to be their only pup. Although a second pup had previously been seen, it has not appeared recently and may not have survived. The whole scenario is mysterious because three Slough females (alpha 380F, beta 526F, and “Hook”) had all appeared to have been pregnant and lactating. We will probably never know what happened to the rest of the pups, if there ever were more.

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Druids den near traditional den site

I’m still at Yellowstone and there is interesting wolf news.


The Druid Peak Pack, after using alternative dens the last two years, has returned to the area on Druid Peak to den where they did from 1997 to 2005. It is probably not the same dens, but basically in the dense area of conifers on the SE face of the peak.

The area is now closed but surrounded on the road by many wolf watchers. I saw and took a number of photos today of a dark gray yearling along Soda Butte Creek who then climbed up to the road and passed though a large number of people near “footbridge” parking lot.

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A first: Idaho wolf migrates to Yellowstone Park. Joins Sloughs

It is said all the time that Yellowstone Park is a source of wolves — wolves don’t migrate into the Park, only out of it. This has been demonstrated to be true . . . almost.

Last spring Dr. Doug Smith spotted a new wolf in the Slough Creek Pack. After a while, and I’m not sure when, they noticed that while he had a radio collar, it didn’t seem to work. Eventually they noticed he had blue ear tags (given to wolves collared in Idaho). Finally they discovered the collar did work and was close to the frequency of Idaho wolf B195M, who originated in the central Idaho White Cloud Mountains (Lynne’s Stone’s country). They made the call apparently, and decided he is that wolf from Idaho.

Folks might recall that last summer the Slough Creek Pack got a new alpha male, when the old alpha male was hit by a car in the Park. The aggressive new Slough alpha, wolf 590M (who came from the nearby Agate Creek pack) seems to have forced B195M out of the pack.

Dan Stahler told me today that B195M now seems to be “associating” with a Slough female (527F) who has left the pack.

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Several wolves from Wyoming (not from the Park, however)have dispersed to central Idaho; and one is known to have come from Idaho to Wyoming. He joined in the formation of the Greybull Pack. B195M, however, seems to be the very first wolf from anywhere outside the near vicinity of Yellowstone Park to enter and find a place with a pack.

There is concern that the wolf populations, especially the Yellowstone Park wolf population, and maybe others if there is a big state sanctioned wolf slaughter could lose its fine genetic diversity. Interstate migrations might mitigate this. Of course, the migrants have to breed and the pups survive and breed for this to happen.

A paper or two is currently underway to investigate if there has been identifiable genetic exchange between the 3 wolf population segments — central Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.