May 16, 2014
Reposted from The Timberwolf Information Network



Posted on May 15, 2014 by TWIN Observer

By: Cathy Ellis

Wolves are using new underpasses in Kootenay National Park less than six months after wildlife crossing structures were completed in a collision hotspot.

Parks Canada officials say remote cameras recorded wolves using all three underpasses along a deadly stretch of Highway 93 South 14 different times over the winter, sometimes a lone wolf, sometimes in a group of up to seven.

They say white-tailed deer and snowshoe hare have also been using the underpasses, located along a 4.7-kilometre stretch of highway near the Dolly Varden day-use area where there is a large deer population.

“Wolves elsewhere in the past have been wary of these structures and this group appears to have quickly grown to utilize them,” said Rick Kubian, resource conservation manager for Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay.

“It’s hard to speculate if it’s just one pack, but our key understanding is wolves in the area have already adapted to the underpasses and have been using them over winter.”

Parks Canada built the three wildlife crossing structures at a cost of $4 million.

More than 5,000 vehicles travel Highway 93 on a typical summer day and in recent years, an average of 50 large animals have been killed on the highway every year. Roads are also barriers to wildlife searching for food, shelter and mates.

The most commonly killed animals are white-tailed deer, an important prey species for wolves and cougar. The road toll also includes wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, moose, lynx, wolverine and bighorn sheep.

“We are pretty excited to see how the suite of wildlife species that utilize the valley in summer will react,” said Kubian.

“We finalized construction late in the season around the time bears started to den up. We haven’t had bears crossing yet, but we think we will.”

Deer make up over 70 per cent of recorded road kills in Kootenay and Kubian said Parks Canada was able to put tracking collars on several whitetail deer over winter.

“Our hope is to better understand their movements in relation to the crossing structures and the existing unfenced sections,” he said.

In 2008, Parks Canada contracted the Western Transportation Institute to identify mitigation measures to reduce crashes with wildlife and provide safe crossing opportunities.

The group recommended experimenting with animal detection systems, increased RCMP enforcement of speeding, alternative road striping and vegetation management on the right-of-way.

But they also recommended 60 per cent of the highway inside the park boundaries be fenced to keep wildlife off the road, plus install underpasses to allow safe passage and maintain connectivity.

Officials say Parks Canada will continue to take other steps to limit collisions and connect the landscape, which may include establishing seasonal speed advisories or speed limits in high-risk areas, and enforcing speed limits in road kill hot spots.

“We are pleased with what we have done to date with fencing and underpasses, but we are awaiting funding for potentially more,” said Kubian.

Collisions with wildlife also cost money – for emergency response, hospital care, vehicle repairs, loss of wildlife and dealing with dead or injured animals. These costs were recently estimated by Parks Canada at $6,600 per deer, $17,000 per elk, and $30,000 per moose.


Wolves Using Highway Underpasses in Kootenay National Park 

A wolf pack uses the wildlife underpass along Highway 93 South in Kootenay National Park.

Less than a year after they were built, a pack of wolves is regularly using all three wildlife underpasses to cross Highway 93 South in Kootenay National Park.

Remote camera images show the wolves used the new structures at least 14 times from November until mid-March.

“We put in these three underpasses in the summer of 2013,” said Trevor Kinley, wildlife crossings project manager with Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay national parks. “When you put in new crossing structures, you expect a learning curve — some time for animals to get used to them and start using them.

“It can be several years before that would happen.”

However, images from the past winter show a known wolf pack — believed to have about a dozen members — regularly using the structures in the Dolly Varden area, about 35 kilometres south from the south gate of the park near Radium, B.C.

“First, it was just wolves walking by and then wolves investigating and then they started using them,” said Kinley. “Over the course of the winter, we had 14 different times that the wolves crossed — sometimes it’s just one wolf and other times it’s six or seven at a time.

“They used all three crossing structures.”

Other animals caught on camera include whitetail deer and snowshoe hares.

Wildlife crossing structures have reduced wildlife-vehicle collisions by 80 per cent in Banff National Park, where there’s a total of six overpasses and 38 underpasses along the Trans-Canada Highway from the east gate to the border of Yoho National Park.

Kinley said it’s too early to say whether it’s led to fewer animals being hit on the busy highway in Kootenay.

“Monitoring is still being done, but anecdotally yes,” he said, noting 4.7 kilometres of the highway is fenced and there are also eight ‘jumpouts’ along the same stretch that allow animals to escape if they get caught on the wrong side of the fence.

Wolves, whitetail deer, grizzly bears and a moose have used the jumpouts, he said.

Officials will continue to monitor the structures for other wildlife crossings.

“The bears are out, the whitetail deer are back in the park so we’ll see a different compliment of animals,” said Kinley. “We’ve been really encouraged by what we’ve seen so far. They are not huge numbers yet of everything, but we’re getting some use, which is fantastic.

“And the wolves, actually, I was surprised at how much use we had in the first year.”

Same video on top of this post

In case you want to see more, here’s a short video put together by Parks Canada:

The short video of the pack using the wildlife underpass was included in the original article by the Calgary Herald.




The Raven and the Wolf, A Study in Symbiosis

Reposted from White Wolf Pack.

Video: Wolf in Sweden, Aros Film-  Footage: Gunnar Fernqvist

On their own, ravens are fearful of carcasses of animals that they wish to eat. Is it a real fear, or the suggestion of uselessness to the raven? 

Ravens also have a hard time getting at meat that hasn’t already been opened up for them to feed from. About the best that they are able to do, is forage on the eyes, or perhaps an exposed tongue in an open mouth. 

They will yell in the presence of an unopened carcass, which will draw wolves, and they will naturally, investigate and do what the raven wants to get into it. It benefits both of them. 

Are these animals symbiotic? In a sense, they appear to be. Ravens have been observed around wolf families at rest, and have even gently pulled the tails of pups in order to get a reaction, just as they do with the adults. They will do the same with eagles, and an eagle can surely do them grievous bodily injury.




All content below re~blogged from MysticWolfie.



The Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus), also known as the European, common, or forest wolf, is a subspecies of gray wolf which has the largest range among wolf subspecies and is the most common in Europe and Asia, ranging through Mongolia, China, Russia,Scandinavia, Western Europe, Caucasus, the Himalayan Mountains and Balkans. 

Compared to their North American cousins, Eurasian wolves tend to have longer, more highly placed ears, narrower heads, more slender loins and coarser, tawnier coloured fur. 

Compared to Indian wolves, Eurasian wolves are larger, and have longer, broader skulls. 

In Europe, wolves rarely form large packs like in North America, as their lives are more strongly influenced by human activities. Because of this, Eurasian wolves tend to be more adaptable than North American wolves in the face of human expansion. 

Eurasian wolves are now returning to the western European countries and are seen in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, France and they are still expanding within Europe.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The gray wolf or grey wolf (Canis lupus) is a species of canid native to the wilderness and remote areas of North America, Eurasia, and North Africa. It is the largest member of its family, with males averaging 43–45 kg (95–99 lb), and females 36–38.5 kg (79–85 lb). 

It is similar in general appearance and proportions to a German shepherd, or sled dog, but has a larger head, narrower chest, longer legs, straighter tail and bigger paws. Its winter fur is long and bushy, and predominantly a mottled gray in colour, although nearly pure white, red, or brown to black also occur. 

Within the genus Canis, the gray wolf represents a more specialized and progressive form than its smaller cousins (the coyote and golden jackal), as demonstrated by its morphological adaptations to hunting large prey, its more gregarious nature[6] and its highly advanced expressive behavior. 

It is a social animal, traveling in nuclear families consisting of a mated pair, accompanied by the pair’s adult offspring. 

The gray wolf is typically an apex predator throughout its range, with only humans and tigers posing a serious threat to it. It feeds primarily on large ungulates, though it also eats smaller animals, livestock, carrion, and garbage.

The gray wolf is one of the world’s most well researched animals, with probably more books written about it than any other wildlife species. It has a long history of association with humans, having been despised and hunted in most agricultural communities due to its attacks on livestock, while conversely being respected by some Native American tribes. It is the sole ancestor of the dog, which was first domesticated in the Middle East. 

Although the fear of wolves is prevalent in many human societies, the majority of recorded attacks on people have been attributed to animals suffering from rabies. Non-rabid wolves have attacked and killed people, mainly children, but this is unusual, as wolves are relatively few, live away from people, and have been taught to fear humans by hunters and shepherds. 

Hunting and trapping has reduced the species’ range to about one third of its original range, though its still relatively widespread range and stable population means that the species is not threatened at a global level, and is therefore classified by the IUCN as Least Concern.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is a subspecies of the gray wolf. It is native to North America, where it is the rarest and most genetically distinct subspecies.

The Mexican wolf is the smallest gray wolf subspecies present in North America. Reaching an overall length no greater than 1.2–1.5 metres (3.9–4.9 ft) and a maximum height of about 80 centimetres (31 in), it is around the size of a German Shepherd. Weight ranges from 27–37 kilograms (60–82 lb). In stature, it resembles some European wolves, though its head is usually broader, its neck thicker, its ears longer and its tail shorter.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The steppe wolf (Canis lupus campestris ) is believed to be a subspecies of the European gray wolf, ( Canis lupus lupus ). 

These wolves can usually be found on the plains of Eurasia, the Ural mountain regions, and the plains of the Caucasus region. They also sometimes venture further south into Iran and Afghanistan, as well as into Eastern Europe. 

The typical steppe wolf weighs between 77 and 88 pounds (35 to 40 kilos), and is usually grayish, brownish or blackish in color. They usually live in social groups known as packs and feed on fruits, fish, and herd animals.

European gray wolf sub-species such as the steppe wolf probably evolved into their present form about 150,000 years ago. These wolves are usually lighter in color on their sides, with darker gray or brown backs, sometimes also speckled with black. They are considered one of the smaller species of European wolf. This species also usually has fur that is thinner, shorter, and less finely textured than other European wolf species.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) is a distinct subspecies of the European grey wolf (Canis lupus) which is believed to have evolved when the Iberian Peninsula was cut off from the rest of Europe during the Pleistocene Era. Previously widespread throughout the Iberian Peninsula, wolves were almost wiped out in Spain during Franco’s rule when complete eradication of the wolf was encouraged. Only relict populations remained in remote corners of north¬west Spain and northern Portugal. Wolves were trapped, poisoned or shot at every opportunity.

However, the Iberian wolf is now numbering between 2,500 and 3,000 individuals in the north-western Iberian Peninsula. They are now expanding towards central Spain, while the isolated population in Sierra Morena in southern Spain teeters on the brink of critical status.

Over the last 60 years, helped by rural depopulation, the Iberian wolf has recolonized huge tracts of northern Spain. A stronger conscience towards native species is emerging and although this does run at odds with the tradition of trophy hunting in certain areas of Spain, it contributes towards a greater knowledge of the true nature of this iconic predator. 

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) is a canid native to the Ethiopian Highlands. It is similar to the coyote in size and build, and is distinguished by its long and narrow skull, and its red and white fur. 

Unlike most large canids, which are widespread, generalist feeders, the Ethiopian wolf is a highly specialised feeder of Afroalpine rodents with very specific habitat requirements. 

It is the world’s rarest canid, and Africa’s most endangered carnivore.

The species’ current range is limited to seven isolated mountain ranges at altitudes of 3,000–4,500m, with the overall adult population having been estimated at 360-440 specimens, more than half of which occur in the Bale Mountains.

The Ethiopian wolf is listed as Endangered by the IUCN, on account of its small numbers and fragmented range. Threats include increasing pressure from expanding human populations, resulting in habitat degredation through overgrazing and disease transference from free ranging dogs. Its conservation is headed by Oxford University’s EWCP (Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program), which seeks to protect wolves through vaccination and community outreach programs.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos), also called snow wolf or white wolf, is a subspecies of the gray wolf, a mammal of the family Canidae. 

Arctic wolves inhabit the Canadian Arctic, Alaska and the northern parts of Greenland. They also have white fur and long canine teeth for killing their prey.

The arctic wolf can withstand the arctic weather, with the help in their thoroughly insulated fur. They can survive in sub-zero temperatures for years, in absolute darkness for five months per year, and without food for weeks. 

Arctic Wolves usually travel in packs of 2 to 20. They live in small family groups: a breeding pair (alpha male and female) and their pups, or as baby wolves. The pack works together to feed and care for their pups. Lone arctic wolves are young males that have left their pack to seek their own territories. They avoid other wolves, unless they are able to mate. Having found an abandoned territory, a lone arctic wolf will claim it by marking the territory with its scent, then gather other lone wolves into its pack. When the female is pregnant, she leaves the pack to dig a den to raise her pups. If the ice is too thick, she will move to a den or cave to make it a home.

Like all wolves, arctic wolves hunt in packs, preying mainly on caribou and muskoxen, but also arctic hares, seals, ptarmigan, lemmings, and smaller animals such as waterfowl. 

Due to the scarcity of prey, they roam large areas, up to 2,600 km2 (1,000 sq mi), and follow migrating caribou south during the winter, for a food source. They are not fast runners, instead relying on stamina to take down prey. 

Adult wolves have 42 teeth, their main weapon in hunting. They swallow food in large chunks, barely chewing it. They eat all of their prey, including the bones. Wolves can eat up to 20 pounds (9 kg) of meat at one meal. When they return from the hunt, wolves regurgitate some of the food for the hungry pups.

Due to the Arctic’s permafrost soil and the difficulty it always poses for digging dens, arctic wolves often use rock outcroppings, caves or even shallow depressions as dens instead. After gestation of about 63 days to 75 days, birth is in late May to early June, about a month later than Gray Wolves. The mother gives birth to 2 or 3 pups, though there may be as many as 12. This is fewer pups than gray wolves, which have four to five. It is generally thought that the lower number is due to the scarcity of prey in the Arctic. Pups are born blind and deaf, and weigh about one pound. They are dependent on their mother for food and protection. When they are 5 weeks old, they are allowed outside the den. Other wolves in the pack may take care of the mother’s pups until she returns with food.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The Alaskan tundra wolf (Canis lupus tundrarum) is a subspecies of the gray wolf, Canis lupus, that resides along the Arctic coast in Alaska.

Alaskan tundra wolves generally live in small packs consisting of parents and their young that have not yet found a mate. The alpha male leads the pack, followed in seniority by the alpha female, his mate. All adults participate in raising the puppies and all wolves participate in the hunt. Although the wolves tend to live in packs, some young animals break away and live alone.

The Alaskan tundra wolf feeds primarily on caribou and muskoxen. Adult prey is generally too large for a lone wolf, requiring cooperation in a pack to successfully bring it down. If the wolves are unable to ambush their prey, muskoxen often form a circle to protect the vulnerable herd members. Unable to break through the circle, the wolves agitate their prey, attempting to get them to flee. If the herd flees, the wolves isolate and kill one of the weaker oxen.

The Alaskan tundra wolf’s fur is generally completely white, ranging from white to cream-white with darker fur along the spine and tail.
Length  100–150 centimeters (without tail)
Height   56–80 centimeters
Reproductive age  Male: 3 years, Female: 2 years
Gestation time  61–63 days
Life expectancy   12–17 years

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



Northwestern Gray Wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis) is a subspecies of gray wolf, it has a coat of black, white, gray, tan and even blue-ish. Gray or black wolves are the most common color phase found to occur. They typically stand about 30 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 85 and 115 pounds, although they can weigh as much as 145 pounds.
The Northwestern wolf, more commonly known as the Rocky Mountain wolf inhabits parts of the western United States, western Canada, and Alaska, including Unimak Island of the Aleutians, and is the sub-species that was reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park (YNP) and central Idaho in 1995.
Territory size in Alaska averages 600 square miles, while wolf packs in YNP average 9.2 wolves with an average territory of 348 square miles.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The Great Plains wolf (Canis lupus nubilus), also known as the Buffalo wolf, is the most common subspecies of the gray wolf in the continental United States. It currently inhabits the western Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada. A typical Great Plains wolf is between 4½ and 6½ feet long, from snout to tail, weighs from 60 to 110 pounds, and may have a coat of gray, black or buff with red-ish coloring. Like all wolves, the Great Plains wolf is a very social animal that communicates using body language, scent marking and vocalization with an average pack size of five to six wolves. The territory size for the Great Plains wolf depends on the type and density of prey. Typical prey for the Great Plains wolf consists of white-tailed deer, moose, beaver, snowshoe hare, and smaller birds and mammals.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The eastern wolf, also known as Eastern Canadian wolf or Eastern Canadian red wolf, may be a subspecies of gray wolf (Canis lupus lycaon), a distinct species of canid (Canis lycaon) or a hybrid species (Canis lupus X Canis latrans) native to the eastern part of North America since the Pleistocene era. It seems to be closely related to the red wolf. Some populations may contain instances of hybridization with coyotes, known as coywolves.

Many names were proposed, including the eastern wolf, eastern gray wolf, eastern timber wolf, and Algonquin wolf, although eastern wolf has appeared to gain the most recognition.
The eastern wolf is smaller than the gray wolf and has a gray-reddish coat with black hairs covering the back and sides of the thorax. The mtDNA analysis confirms that eastern wolf belonged to an ancient form of primitive wolf (with red wolf) originating some 750,000 years ago in the eastern part of North America (Nowak 1979, 1992). This distribution of haplotypes shows elements similar to the red wolf and probably is a part of this species. Red wolf populations were extirpated from the wild in the southeastern United States, were reintroduced to the wild in recent decades and are now critically endangered.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The Mackenzie Valley wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis) also known as the Canadian timber wolf is perhaps the largest subspecies of gray wolf in North America. Its range includes parts of the western United States, much of western Canada, and Alaska, including Unimak Island in the Aleutians, and was introduced into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. The subspecies has since spread into Washington, Oregon, Utah, and possibly other states.
Mackenzie Valley wolves typically stand about 32–34 inches (80–85 cm) at the shoulder and males weigh between 100 and 170 pounds (45–70 kg).The record is held by a wild wolf caught in Alaska in 1939 which weighed 175 pounds.
The Mackenzie Valley wolf’s thick, long limbs are proportionally built for traversing through rough terrain such as deep snow or the cliffy edges of the Rocky Mountains. Its deep chest hosts large lungs, letting the wolf breathe more efficiently at higher altitudes, and allowing it to exert huge amounts of stamina traveling up to 115 km (70 miles) in one day. Its powerful neck is a very important adaptation; it has to be strong to support the wolf’s large head and is crucial for bringing down prey. The Mackenzie Valley wolf maximizes heat retention through such methods as using its bushy tail to cover its exposed nose during the winter. It sheds its undercoat during the summer months due to the hotter conditions.
The skull is 31 cm (12 inches) long and is armed with an impressive array of large canines and carnassial teeth which, when coupled with huge jaw muscles that are evident from the large sagittal crest and wide zygomatic arches, give it an incredible biteforce that is strong enough to break the bones of prey and even crack the femur of moose.
In Alaska, pack sizes are generally 6–12 wolves, with some packs as large as 20–30. Territory size averages 600 square miles (1,600 km2). Wolf packs in Yellowstone average 9.2 wolves with an average territory of 348-square-mile (900 km2), while wolf packs in Idaho average 11.1 and 364-square-mile (940 km2) territories.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The Labrador Wolf (Canis lupus labradorius) is a subspecies of the gray wolf, Canis lupus, which is primarily found in Labrador and northern Quebec. It was stated by Peterson in 1966 that the Labrador wolf is “closely related to…the extinct Newfoundland race C. l. beothucus”. The species itself is stable, though it is legally hunted in northern Canada for its pelt through a regulated system.
The species generally weighs around 30 kg (66 lb), approximate to the average weight of most wolf species. Its coat is described as a pale light gray, tending toward white, though it can also be a “dark grizzly grey”.
The Labrador wolf preys primarily on white-tailed deer and caribou. There have been very few reports of Labrador wolf attacks on livestock, such as cattle or sheep.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The Italian wolf (Canis lupus italicus) also known as the Apennine Wolf, is a subspecies of the Gray Wolf found in the Apennine Mountains in Italy. The Italian Wolf is a medium wolf. Male Italian Wolves have an average weight of 24 - 40 kilograms (53 - 88 pounds), with females usually being 10% lighter. The body length of the Italian Wolf is usually 100 - 140 centimetres (39 - 55 inches). Their fur colour is commonly blended grey or brown, though black specimens have recently been sighted in the Mugello region and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The Himalayan wolf  (Canis himalayensis) has been suggested by several Indian biologists for recognition as a critically endangered canid species, distinct from Canis lupus. Results of mitochondrial DNA analysis suggests that the Himalayan wolf is phylogenetically distinct from the Tibetan wolf Canis lupus chanco.
However, the IUCN Wolf Specialist Group has not taken a position regarding this issue. The editors of Mammal Species of the World consider the small population to be Tibetan wolves, a subspecies of the gray wolf.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The Egyptian jackal (Canis aureus lupaster) also known as the African wolf or wolf jackal was sometimes classified as a subspecies of the golden jackal; however, recent genetic studies have confirmed that it is as a subspecies of gray wolf. It is native to Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia, though its post Pleistocene range once encompassed the Palestine region.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) or (Canis indica) is a gray wolf subspecies inhabiting South and south-western Asia.
Some experts have suggested at least some Canis lupus pallipes populations be reclassified a canid species distinct from Canis lupus. Other experts believe it may be the wolf subspecies from which the domestic dog evolved, pointing to its small size and comparatively docile behaviour, although it is also known as a man-eater. While their populations are stable or increasing in some countries, in others they may be endangered. Canis Lupus pallipes has been featured in different roles in different west Asian cultures; treated as vermin or menace in some times and places, respected and protected in others.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



The Tibetan wolf (Canis lupus chanco), also known as the woolly wolf, is a gray wolf subspecies native to Asia from Turkestan throughout Tibet to Mongolia, northern China and the Indian subcontinent. In Tibet and Ladakh it is known as chánkú or shanko.
Canis lupus chanco is relatively widespread with a stable population trend and has therefore been assessed as Least Concern by IUCN since 2004. Canis lupus chanco is regarded as a synonym of Canis lupus lupus, reflecting a recent tendency to lump older subspecies and to name fewer new ones.The Tibetan wolf is thought by some scientists to be the most likely ancestor of the domestic dog, on account of its small size and mandible morphology, noting that the uppermost part of the lower jaw is turned back on both the Tibetan wolf and the dog, though not so in other grey wolf subspecies.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie



Yellowstone National Park (Arapaho: Henihco’oo’ or Héetíhco’oo) is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone, widely held to be the first national park in the world, is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is dominant.
Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years. The region was bypassed during the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 19th century. Aside from visits by mountain men during the early-to-mid-19th century, organized exploration did not begin until the late 1860s. The U.S. Army was commissioned to oversee the park just after its establishment. In 1917, administration of the park was transferred to the National Park Service, which had been created the previous year. Hundreds of structures have been built and are protected for their architectural and historical significance, and researchers have examined more than 1,000 archaeological sites.
Yellowstone National Park spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles (8,983 km2), comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered an active volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years. Half of the world’s geothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism. Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions cover most of the land area of Yellowstone. The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining, nearly intact ecosystem in the Earth’s northern temperate zone.
Hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have been documented, including several that are either endangered or threatened. The vast forests and grasslands also include unique species of plants. Yellowstone Park is the largest and most famous megafauna location in the Continental United States. Grizzly bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk live in the park. The Yellowstone Park bison herd is the oldest and largest public bison herd in the United States.
Scientists have been researching and studying the impacts on the Yellowstone ecosystem since re-introduction in 1995.
As the wolf population in the park has grown, the elk population, their favored prey, has declined. Prior to reintroduction, the EIS predicted that wolves would kill an average 12/wolf elk annually. This estimate proved too low as wolves are now killing an average of 22/wolf annually. This decline in elk has resulted in changes in flora, most specifically willows, cottonwoods and aspens along the fringes of heavily timbered areas.  Although wolf kills are directly attributable to declines in elk numbers, some research has shown that elk behavior has been significantly altered by wolf predation. The constant presence of wolves have pushed elk into less favorable habitats, raised their stress level, lowered their nutrition and their overall birth rate.
The wolves became significant predators of coyotes after their reintroduction. Since then, in 1995 and 1996, the local coyote population went through a dramatic restructuring. Until the wolves returned, Yellowstone National Park had one of the densest and most stable coyote populations in America due to a lack of human impacts. Two years after the wolf reintroductions, the pre-wolf population of coyotes had been reduced to 50% through both competitive exclusion and intraguild predation. Coyote numbers were 39% lower in the areas of Yellowstone where wolves were reintroduced. In one study, about 16% of radio-collared coyotes were preyed upon by wolves. Yellowstone coyotes have had to shift their territories as a result, moving from open meadows to steep terrain. Carcasses in the open no longer attract coyotes; when a coyote is chased on flat terrain, it is often killed. They feel more secure on steep terrain where they will often lead a pursuing wolf downhill. As the wolf comes after it, the coyote will turn around and run uphill. Wolves, being heavier, cannot stop and the coyote gains a large lead. Though physical confrontations between the two species are usually dominated by the larger wolves, coyotes have been known to attack wolves if they outnumber them. Both species will kill each other’s pups given the opportunity.
Coyotes, in their turn, naturally suppress foxes, so the diminished coyote population has led to a rise in foxes, and “That in turn shifts the odds of survival for coyote prey such as hares and young deer, as well as for the small rodents and ground-nesting birds the foxes stalk. These changes affect how often certain roots, buds, seeds and insects get eaten, which can alter the balance of local plant communities, and so on down the food chain all the way to fungi and microbes.”
The presence of wolves has also coincided with a dramatic rise in the park’s beaver population; where there was just one beaver colony in Yellowstone in 2001, there were nine beaver colonies in the park by 2011. The presence of wolves seems to have encouraged elk to browse more widely, diminishing their pressure on stands of willow, a plant that beavers need to survive the winter. The renewed presence of beavers in the ecosystem has substantial effects on the local watershed because the existence of beaver dams “even[s] out the seasonal pulses of runoff; store[s] water for recharging the water table; and provide[s] cold, shaded water for fish.” Beaver dams also counter erosion and create “new pond and marsh habitats for moose, otters, mink, wading birds, waterfowl, fish, amphibians and more.”
Wolf kills are scavenged by and thus feed a wide array of animals, including, but not limited to, ravens, wolverines, bald eagles, golden eagles, grizzly bears, black bears, jays, magpies, martens and coyotes. At the end of 2011, at least 98 wolves in 10 packs plus 2 loners occupied Yellowstone National Park.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie


Photo: Alpha wolf 10M of the Rose Creek Pack (Yellowstone 1995)
Rose Creek Pack (Yellowstone 1995)
During their exploratory phase, wolves #9 and #10 traveled about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of the park. The pup (#7F) traveled with the alpha pair for six days but dispersed before #9 and #10 went to Red Lodge. In January 1996 #7F paired with #2M, which had dispersed from the Crystal Creek Pack. On April 26, 1995, the alpha male (#10M) was shot and killed about 4 miles (6 km) south of Red Lodge, Montana, about 35 miles (56 km) northeast of the park. At about the same time and in the same area, his mate, #9F, gave birth to eight pups. Because her den was so close to Red Lodge and she had no other pack members to help provide food, #9F and the pups were captured and returned to the Rose Creek pen until October 11, when the pups were considered mature enough to fend for themselves if necessary. Immediately after release, #9F paired with the yearling #8M, which had recently dispersed from the Crystal Creek Pack. Through the end of 1995, the nine wolves of the Rose Creek Pack established a territory in the Lamar Valley. In late April 1996, #9 gave birth to three pups in a den near Slough Creek. On June 14 an encounter with the Druid Peak Pack resulted in the death of the yearling #20M. The 11 remaining wolves occupied a territory around the den and a rendezvous site on Buffalo Plateau that measured 114 mi2 (295 km2) and extended west from the west end of Lamar Valley along the Yellowstone River to Cottonwood Creek. On November 5 biologists found an uncollared black wolf from the Rose Creek Pack, probably #23M, with the newly formed Leopold Pack, but by early December it had dispersed from the Rose Creek Pack. This left the Rose Creek Pack with two adults, five yearlings, and three pups at the end of 1996.
The Rose Creek Pack is the largest wolf pack in the GYA. Three females bred in 1997, producing at least 22 pups, of which only 9 survived; it is likely that all of them belonged to #18F. As of December 31, the pack included one adult male (#8M), two adult females (#9F and her daughter #18F, born in 1995), three yearlings (#51 – #53, two females and one male), and nine pups (#77 – #85). These wolves range from the Lamar Valley west along the Yellowstone River valley. Number 9F’s contribution to wolf restoration in the GYA is remarkable. She has bred three times, with two of those litters surviving. All four females from her first litter (#16F, #17F, #18F, and #19F) bred in 1997, with pups from three of those 1997 litters surviving. Her son #21M, also born to the first Yellowstone litter in 1995, became the alpha male of the Druid Peak Pack in December 1997. The daughter who arrived with her from Canada, #7F, became the alpha female of the Leopold Pack in 1996, and produced litters in 1996 and 1997. Her other son, #23M, an uncollared black male born in 1995, dispersed in October 1996, and he could be the black wolf reported north of the park, sometimes in company with a gray wolf.
Credits: Susan Williams ( Pro-Wolf North West https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pro-Wolf-North-West/115166588571309?fref=ts )

Re blogged from MysticWolfie


The Druids wolf pack (Yellowstone)
The Druids wolf pack (formed 1996) were a group of relocated wolves that were released into Yellowstone National Park. This pack grew fast from five members to 37 members at its peak in 2001. It is believed to be the biggest wolf pack in history. The first alpha pair were #38 and #39. #40 assumed dominance after her mother #38 left. A roving male #31 joined the group from Chief Joseph Pack. #40 was killed by three of her subordinate sisters and a female wolf dubbed the Cinderella wolf assumed the position of Alpha female. It was at this point that the pack grew rapidly with three litters of pups being raised that year for a total of 21 pups, 20 of which survived. The dominant male been shot previously when the pack had wandered out of the park. #21 took dominance after joining the group. #42 and #21 led the pack as the alpha pair for many years until in 2004, #42 was killed by a neighboring wolf pack and #21 died soon after at the age of 9 after curling up under a tree and passing away. #302 “Casanova” then became the alpha male for a period of time. He was given the name Casanova because of his promiscous lifestyle as a wolf, living on the outskirts of druid territory often trying to lure the females druid wolves over. #480 soon after joined the pack as alpha male, Casanova being a beta male and not a fighter. #569 became the alpha female. In the winter of 2009-2010, the pack contracted mange causing many of the wolves to die from border skirmishes or starvation. The males who took over the pack after #480 was chased off did not stick around as the remaining females were too weak to bear pups.  The alpha female #569 had died the previous fall, and #480’s body was later found near the Hellroaring drainage. The Druids were down to one wolf in 2010, a female, 690F, who was believed to be unable to last the winter. She was later shot in Butte, Montana sometime in May that year by a rancher after she attacked his cattle out of desperation. Many wolves in Yellowstone have Druid bloodline so they still live on as many wolves were chased out or left the pack including 4 female wolves and a male wolf who left to form a pack with a different alpha male.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie


Photo: Alpha Wolf 06 or 832F (Lamar Canyon Pack 2010)
Lamar Canyon Pack (Yellowstone 2010)
The Lamar Canyon pack was formed after the dissolution of the Druid Peak pack in February 2010 and  quickly occupied the northeast corner of the park. Led by an uncollared gray female, “06 Female,” this pack flourished immediately. Brothers #755M (alpha) and #754M were the only other adults. The pack’s territory encompassed the Slough Creek drainage and the northern section of the Lamar Valley from late January to late fall. However, they quickly moved into territory previously occupied by the Silver pack in early winter and ranged throughout the Lamar Valley and east to Silver Gate, Montana. The pack used a former Slough Creek pack den site and produced four gray pups, the first litter by 06 Female. By the end of the year, the pack was primarily observed in the Lamar Valley and interacted several times with the neighboring Agate Creek pack, including one incident when all seven Lamar Canyon pack members attacked and injured Agate Creek beta male #586M. All three Lamar Canyon adults were observed with varying degrees of mange at the end of 2010.
The Lamar Canyon pack was the most stable of the northern range packs. Led by founding members #755M and an uncollared gray female, the “06 female,” the pack thrived in the northeast corner of the park, preying primarily on elk and mule deer. The pack started the year with five other members including #754M and #776F. Unfortunately, 776F’s GPS collar was chewed off in early March. In April the pack localized in the former Druid Peak pack den area in the eastern Lamar Valley, where the “06 female” produced a litter of five pups, all of which survived through the year. An uncollared gray male yearling dispersed from the pack in late summer. The pack’s territory expanded this year to cover the entire Lamar Valley and extend west through Slough Creek and east across the park boundary. They were often observed outside the park in the Silver Gate and Cooke City areas. In early winter, the pack likely interacted with the neighboring Blacktail Deer Plateau and Agate Creek packs; one encounter ended with a fatal attack on the Agate alpha female. At the end of the year, most of the pack had mange; the “06 female” had the least severe case.

Re blogged from MysticWolfie


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