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Yellowstone National Park Wolf Information



There are three (3) canids that inhabit Yellowstone National Park, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), the coyote (Canis latrans), and the gray wolf (Canis lupus). “The gray wolf was purposefully shot, trapped, or poisoned in Yellowstone National Park from its establishment in 1872 until 1933, when the National Park Service ended its predator control efforts. By the mid-1930s, however, the last wolf pack was gone from Yellowstone” (Yellowstone Wolf Project Report 1995/1996). Studies started in 1972 through 1994 on restoring wolves to Yellowstone. In March of 1995 gray wolves were reintroduced thus bringing all natural wildlife back to the ecosystem.


Yellowstone Wolf Pack Data as of 2013
Pack Adults End of Year Pup Count Total
8 Mile 6 3 9
Blacktail 4 - 4
Lamar Canyon (formerly 755 group) 3-7 0-3 3-10
Junction Butte 7 2 9
Northern Range Totals20-245-825-32
Non-Northern Range
Pack Adults End of Year Pup Count Total
Bechler 8 3 11
Canyon 6 2 8
Cougar Creek 6 5 11
Mollie's 5 - 5
Yellowstone Delta 11 - 11
Non-Northern Range Totals 36 10 46
Totals 55-60 15-18 71-78

Data as of 04 January 2013 furnished by the NPS




Wolf Population Estimate by Recovery Area as of 2011
Area Wolves
Central Idaho Recovery Area 797
Greater Yellowstone Area 499
Northwestern Montana 431
Total (113 Breeding Pairs) 1727

Wolf Population Estimate by State as of 2011
Area Wolves
Idaho 746
Montana 653
Wyoming 328
Oregon 29
Utah 0
Washington 18
Total (113 Breeding Pairs) 1774

2011 Executive Summary


At the end of 2011, at least 98 wolves in 10 packs plus 2 loners occupied Yellowstone National Park. The population size (97 wolves) and number of breeding pairs (8) is the same as at the end of 2010. However, the wolf population on the northern range has declined approximately 60% since 2007, mostly because of a smaller elk population, the main food of northern range wolves. The interior wolf population has declined less, probably because they augment their diet with bison. The severity of mange continued to decline in 2011, although some packs still showed signs of the mite. There was no evidence that distemper was a mortality factor as it was in 1999, 2005 and 2008. Pack size ranged from 3 (Agate Creek) to 19 (Mollie's) and averaged 10.2; the long-term average is 10. All nine packs that we had information on had pups. (We could not assess the reproductive status of the Bechler pack). The average number of pups in early winter for packs that had pups was 4.1, compared to 4.8 in 2010 and 3.8 in 2009. A total of 34 pups in survived to year end in the park, four less than in 2010.


Project staff detected 343 kills (definite, probable, and possible combined) made by wolves in 2011, including 267 elk (78%), 15 bison (4%), 18 deer (5%), 1 moose (<1%), 2 pronghorn (<1%), 2 bighorn sheep (<1%), 2 badgers (< 1%), 1 jackrabbit (<1%), 14 coyotes (4%), 1 raven (< 1%), 7 wolves (2%), and 13 unknown prey (4%). The composition of elk kills was 27% calves, 3% yearlings, 44% cows, 18% bulls, 3% adults of unknown sex, and 6% of unknown sex and age. Bison kills included 5 calves, 1 yearling, 2 cows, 6 bulls, and 1 adult of unknown sex.


Other research included population genetics, population regulation, disease, hunting behavior, spatial analyses of territory use, wolf pack leadership, multi-carnivore-scavenger interactions, breeding behavior, dispersal, and observations of wolf, grizzly bear, and bison interactions in Pelican Valley.


In 2011, 12 wolves from six packs were captured and collared. At year's end 17% of the park's wolf population was collared. Wolf management activities included den site closures, several hazing events, and one removal of a food-conditioned wolf. Staff continued to manage wolf viewing areas in Slough Creek and Lamar Valley and other places where wolves were frequently sighted.


2011 Wolf Pack Map - NPS Image


Yellowstone Wolf Project - 2010 Summary


At the end of 2010, at least 97 wolves (11 packs and 6 loners) occupied Yellowstone National Park (YNP). This is nearly the same size population as in 2009 (96 wolves) and represents a stable population. Breeding pairs increased from six in 2009 to eight in 2010. The wolf population declined 43% from 2007 to 2010, primarily because of a smaller elk population, the main food of northern range wolves. The interior wolf population declined less, probably because they augment their diet with bison. The severity of mange declined in 2010 and there was no evidence of distemper being a mortality factor as it was in 1999, 2005, and 2008. Pack size ranged from 3 (Grayling Creek) to 16 (Mollie's) and averaged 8.3, slightly higher than in 2009 (7.1), but lower than the long-term average of 10 wolves per pack. Eight of the 11 packs reproduced (73%). The average number of pups per pack in early winter for packs that had at least one pup was 4.8, compared to the 2009 average of 3.8. A total of 38 pups in YNP survived to year end.


Wolf Project staff detected 268 wolf kills in 2010 (definite, probable, and possible combined), including 211 elk (79%), 25 bison (9%), 7 deer (3%), 4 wolves (1%), 2 moose (<1%), 2 pronghorn (<1%), 2 grizzly bears (< 1%), 4 coyotes (1%), 2 ravens (<1%), and 10 unknown species (4%). The composition of elk kills was 43% cows, 25% calves, 18% bulls, and 15% elk of unknown sex and/or age. Bison kills included 4 calves, 6 cows, 7 bulls, and 8 unknown sex adults. Intensive winter and summer studies of wolf predation continued.


Other research included population genetics, disease, hunting behavior, spatial analyses of territory use, wolf pack leadership, multi-carnivore–scavenger interactions, breeding behavior, dispersal, and observations of wolf, grizzly bear, and bison interactions in Pelican Valley.


Eighteen wolves from eight packs were captured and collared during 2010. At year end, 28 of the 97 (about 30%) known wolves in the park were collared.


Wolf management activities included den site closures and four incidents of hazing habituated wolves, each of minor significance (yelling, horn blowing, etc.). Staff continued to manage wolf viewing areas in Slough Creek, Lamar Valley, and other places where wolves were frequently sighted. Wolf Project staff made 16,225 visitor contacts and counted about 38,000 people observing wolves; both figures were record highs for the program. Wolf Project public outreach included 248 talks (30% more) and 83 interviews (10% fewer).


Additional information on wolves in Yellowstone is available at www.nps.gov/yell/naturescience/wolves.htm, www.greateryellowstonescience.org, and www.western-graywolf.fws.gov.



Yellowstone Wolf Pack Data as of 2010
Pack Adults End of Year Pup Count Total
Agate 4 4 8
Blacktail 8 6 14
Lamar Canyon (formerly 755 group) 3 4 7
Quadrant Mountain 7 0 7
Lone / Non-Pack Wolves (470F, 692F) 2 0 2
Northern Range Totals 2414 38
Non-Northern Range
Pack Adults End of Year Pup Count Total
Bechler (no radio collared wolves) 4 7 11
Canyon 3 3 6
Cougar Creek 4 0 4
Grayling 3 0 3
Mary Mountain (formerly 636M Group) 4 2 6
Mollie's 9 7 16
Yellowstone Delta 4 5 9
Lone / Non-Pack Wolves 4 0 4
Non-Northern Range Totals 35 24 59
Totals 59 38 97

Data as of 29 July 2010 furnished by the NPS


2010 Wolf Pack Map - NPS Image


Wolf Population Estimate by Recovery Area as of 2009
Area Wolves
Central Idaho Recovery Area 913
Greater Yellowstone Area 455
Northwestern Montana 319
Total (113 Breeding Pairs) 1687

Wolf Population Estimate by State as of 2009
Area Wolves
Idaho 843
Montana 524
Wyoming 320
Total (113 Breeding Pairs) 1687


Yellowstone National Park Wolf Press Release
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Press Release - 16 September 2009

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2009 09-088
Al Nash or Stacy Vallie 307-344-2015

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK NEWS RELEASE
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

New Study Shows Distemper Linked To Yellowstone Wolf Pup Deaths

Since wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone in the 1990s, there have been three years when the pup survival rate was extremely low: 1999, 2005, and 2008.

Canine parvovirus was believed to be the cause of the wolf pup deaths in 1999 and 2005. That was because parvovirus is known to cause a high mortality rate in domestic dogs, and was suspected in the high death rate of wolves at Isle Royale National Park in Michigan in the early 1980s.

Results of newly published research point to canine distemper as the cause of the low pup survival rates.

Researchers took blood samples from wolves and coyotes in Yellowstone National Park. They looked for exposure to a number of canine diseases. The results indicate that some diseases like parvovirus are chronic in the park's wild canines.

However, signs of distemper appeared only in the years when pup mortality was high. Since distemper weakens the immune system and makes infected animals susceptible to other infections, it can be difficult to determine the actual cause of death.

The research also indicates that the wolf population seems to fare well despite some chronic infections, and rebounds well from periodic exposure to distemper.

While the research was unable to conclusively determine the episodic source of the canine distemper, data suggests it is not linked to the region's domestic dog population.

The research was conducted by the Yellowstone Wolf Project, the University of Minnesota, and the Yellowstone Ecological Research Center. The findings were recently posted to PLoS ONE, a peer reviewed online journal which posts reports of original research in science and medicine: A Serological Survey of Infectious Disease in Yellowstone National Park's Canid Community.


2009 Executive Summary


At the end of 2009, at least 96-98 wolves in 14 packs (6 breeding pairs), 1 non-pack grouping, and 2 loners occupied Yellowstone National Park (YNP). This represents a 23% decline from 124 wolves in 2008. Despite the decline the number of breeding pairs did not change (6 in both 2008 & 2009). Intraspecific strife, food stress, and mange were likely cause for the decline. So far, there is no evidence of distemper as a cause of mortality, unlike previous population declines in 1999, 2005 and 2008. Pack size ranged from 3 (Lava Creek & Canyon) to 17 (Gibbon Meadows) and averaged 7.1, down from the long-term average of 9.8 wolves/pack. The average number of pups/pack in early winter was 1.8 for all packs, but 3.8 for packs that had pups, also down compared to the long-term average of 4.0 pups/pack.


Project staff detected 365 wolf kills including 302 elk (83%), 19 bison (5%), 17 deer (2%), 1 moose (<1%), 4 pronghorn (<1%), 1 bighorn sheep (<1%), 1 Canada goose (<1%), 1 bald eagle (<1%), 3 coyotes (<1%), 2 red foxes (<1%), 6 wolves (2%), and 8 unknown prey (2%). The composition of elk kills was 24% calves, 36% cows, 29% bulls, and 10% unknown sex and/or age. Bison kills included 7 calves, 4 cows, 3 bulls, and 5 unknown sex adults. Intensive winter and summer studies of wolf predation continued.


Other research included population genetics, disease, hunting behavior, spatial analyses of territory use, wolf pack leadership, multi-carnivore-scavenger interactions, breeding behavior, dispersal, and observations of wolf, grizzly bear and bison interactions in Pelican Valley.


Twenty-two wolves were captured and collared in 11 packs. At year's end, 32 of 96 (35%) wolves were collared.


Wolf management activities included den site closures and hazing of habituated wolves. For the first time a wolf was killed near Old Faithful because it was food conditioned and a human safety threat. The Canyon pack denned within one mile of Mammoth Hot Springs and they were hazed from the developed area causing them to re-locate their den. Staff continued to manage wolf viewing areas in Lamar Valley and other hot spots where wolves were frequently sighted leading to 31,000 people observing wolves and 15,285 visitor contacts by Wolf Project staff. Wolf Project public outreach included 183 talks and 90 interviews to all types of groups and media including scientific conferences. (Information provided by Yellowstone staff)


2009 Wolf Packs Map - provided by Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Wolf Pack Data as of 2009
Northern Range
Pack Adults End of Year Pup Count Total
Agate 4 4 8
Blacktail 10 6 16
Lamar Canyon (formerly 755 group) 3 4 7
Quadrant Mountain 7 0 7
Silver 5 4 9
Lone / Non-Pack Wolves (470F, 471F, 684M) 3 0 3
Northern Range Totals321850
Non-Northern Range
Pack Adults End of Year Pup Count Total
636M Group 4 0 4
Bechler (no radio collared wolves) 3 12 15
Canyon 3 3 6
Cougar Creek 4 0 4
Grayling 4 0 4
Madison 8 5 13
Mollie's 11 6 17
Yellowstone Delta 4 5 9
Lone / Non-Pack Wolves (578F +3, 587M +2, 640F) 8 0 8
Non-Northern Range Totals 49 31 80
Totals 81 49 130



2008 Wolf Packs Map - provided by Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Wolf Pack Data as of 2008
Pack Adults End of Year Pup Count Total
471F Group 3 0 3
527F Group 3 0 3
Agate 4 0 4
Blacktail Deer Plateau 8 0 8
Druid 8 5 13
Everts 5 3 8
Slough 7 0 7
Quadrant Mountain (469F) 4 0 4
Lone / Non-Pack Wolves 6 - 6
Northern Range Totals 48 8 56
Non-Northern Range
Pack Adults End of Year Pup Count Total
Bechler 6 3 9
Canyon 4 0 4
Cougar Creek 4 0 4
Gibbon Meadows 19 6 25
Mollie's 10 3 13
Yellowstone Delta 7 2 9
Yellowstone Delta Subgroup 4 0 4
Non-Northern Range Totals 54 14 68
Totals 102 22 124

Yellowstone Wolf Summary for 2008
At the end of 2008, at least 124 wolves in 12 packs and various groups occupied Yellowstone National Park. This is one more pack than in 2007, but several long-term, stable packs were lost and smaller, newly formed packs replaced them. This represents a 27% decline compared to the 2007 population and was similar to the 30% decline in 2005. Only six of these packs were breeding pairs, the smallest count since 2000 (when wolves first reached the minimum requirement for delisting of 30 breeding pairs in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming). High mortality of both pups and adults caused the low breeding pair count, despite there being 12 packs. Disease and intraspecific mortality are the two primary factors that caused the wolf population decline.



2007 Wolf Packs Map - provided by Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone Wolf Pack Data as of 2007
Pack Adults End of Year Pup Count Total
Agate 8 9 17
Druid 9 7 16
Gardiner's Hole Group 1 1 2
Leopold 13 3 16
Oxbow Creek 8 8 16
Slough 7 9 16
469 F Group 4 - 4
527 F / B 271 M Idaho Wolf 2 - 2
Lone / Non-Pack Wolves 5 - 5
Northern Range Totals 57 37 94
Non-Northern Range
Pack Adults End of Year Pup Count Total
Bechler 8 3 11
Cougar Creek 3 4 7
Gibbon Meadows 11 6 17
Hayden Valley (no collars) 1 3 4
Mollie's 9 5 14
Yellowstone Delta 16 6 22
Lone / Non-Pack Wolves 2 - 2
Non-Northern Range Totals 50 27 77
Totals 107 64 171



Annual reports of the Yellowstone Wolf Packs
1995 / 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012
1997 2001 2005 2009 2013
1998 2002 2006 2010 2014
1999 2003 2007 2011 2015

These are Adobe pdf files


Information provided by Yellowstone National Park




Let Her Be... She Is Me...
By John William Uhler
Dedicated to Wolf Number 9

Let her die with the stars and sky in her eyes and the wind in her face - forever wild, free and in her home...

She is our sister. We have watched her in the wilds of Yellowstone. Her story has captivated us and awed us. She has given us joy and happiness and pleasure.

Though her life has been short by our standards, she lived great! She lived wild and free and has cared for and extended the pack, her family.

God will bless and take care of her as only He can. Someday, we will all understand that we are all related. We are all part of nature and the great plan. When that day comes, we will see the wisdom of God in all things!

Let her die with the stars and sky in her eyes and the wind in her face - forever wild, free and at home...


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