INTRODUCTION AND WOLF UPDATE

INTRODUCTION

When I first made my June trip plans, I was going to stay with Laurie & Dan in Silver Gate, but a variety of unexpected family issues prevented them from leaving San Diego. Laurie generously allowed me to stay in her cabin anyway, and although I had some trepidation about being on my own, I figured, itís summer, Iíll be ok. I just started taking blood pressure medicine (family trait) but I felt fine. And it turned out to be just the tonic I needed. I always feel as though I never get enough solitary time, so this really did the trick. Thank you, Laurie!

WOLF UPDATE

The wolf project says there are about 65 adult wolves in the Park but the official pup count has not yet been done. Rick retired in March. Lizzie is the new Rick and Jeremy is the new Lizzie. The wolf project is no longer permitted to call in sightings over the radio to the public but crews do have telemetry and can answer questions when asked in person.

LAMAR CANYON

This pack is still thriving but rarely seen. Little T, daughter of 926, granddaughter of the 06, great-great granddaughter of 21 & 42 is the confident alpha female. She was born black and is now beginning to gray like her mother did. Small Dot is her alpha male. One yearling black wolf, a female, seems to be the only survivor of the 2017 surprise litter of 5.

Little T was seen visibly pregnant this spring and may have denned in the deep forest south of Round Prairie.

Best pullout to try to see the Lamars is Round Prairie.

JUNCTION BUTTE

This is still the most visible pack in the park, due to three factors: numerous working collars; numerous blacks, and their home territory includes habitat easily visible from the road (former Druid territory). This spring all four females were pregnant. #1109 seems to have denned somewhere on the Yellowstone River side of Specimen Ridge. The other three initially denned in the traditional area at Slough but have since moved to areas out of view. There continues to be strife between the females. The un-collared black female deposed 907F (perhaps her daughter or her niece) and is now the reigning alpha. 969F, who once led the pack, is not at all comfortable being on the bottom rung. In early May she was seen (and recorded) moving pups from the sage den and killing at least one. No other females were in the area when this happened.

Shortly after this, the pack stopped returning to the Slough den area as they had during April. Instead they are seen crossing the lion meadow and continuing further northeast. In early June, to everyoneís great surprise, 7 pups (6 black and 1 gray) were seen by the wolf project with both 969 and 907 in an area northeast of the traditional den. Hopefully the project will get some DNA evidence from these pups in the near future to clarify their parentage.

During June the observed patterns of behavior in the adult Junction wolves indicate they are feeding at least two sets of pups: the 7 to the northeast of Slough plus an unknown number somewhere on Specimen Ridge.

The packís adults consist of 3 collared black males: 1047 (alpha), 1048, and 996 (whose collar no longer transmits), and an un-collared black male who is often apart from the group. Three females are collared (907 (gray), 969 (gray) and 1109 (black), and one is un-collared (the black current alpha). There are three yearlings: two black and one gray. One black yearling is a female; the other two yearlings are male.

Best pullouts to try to see Junctions are: Boulder, Straightaway, Aspen, Slough, Lamar Canyon West, Dorothyís and Trash Can.

EIGHT MILE

This pack seems to be somewhat in flux and I am not sure of the count but they DO have pups. Several Wapiti males, (including 1015) joined several 8 Mile females to form this pack in Oct 2018. They denned on the Blacktail plateau and are using an area 3 miles away as a rendezvous spot. They have at least five pups, (all black). The pups can sometimes be seen in the morning as romping dots in the last strip of open green before the thick mountainside forest begins.

Best pullout to try to see these wolves is the Childrenís Fire Trail.

WAPITI LAKE

The Wapitis had several pregnant females this spring, including the distinctive white alpha (former mate of 755M). She seems to have denned on the west side of the road somewhere between Mary Mountain trail and 3 Panel prairie. A second female seems to have denned on the east side, a somewhat near the point of trees. I donít know the usual count for this pack but it is much less than last year. Best pullouts to try to see Wapitis are: Alum Creek, Grizzly Overlook, Trout Creek, Elk Antler Creek or 3 Panel.

OTHER PACKS

There are several more packs in the Park of course, but these are the ones I know about.

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