by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
December 15, 2015
Yellowstone National Park officials report that in December 2014, the park harbored at least 104 wolves in 11 packs, including nine breeding pairs. According to the park’s annual wolf report, "From 2009 to 2014, wolf numbers have fluctuated between 83 and 104 wolves, and 6 to 9 breeding pairs. Pack size in 2014 averaged 9 wolves (range = 2 to 14). Forty pups survived to year-end, including 17 in northern Yellowstone and 23 in the interior of the park. An average of 4.4 pups per pack (82%) survived in the nine packs that had pups."
Researchers monitoring wolf-prey relationships indicate that wolves still prefer elk, but predation in bison and mule deer appear to be increasing within the park.Park officials also noted that there were 7 instances in 2014 when wolf behavior was considered habituated or when wolves closely approached humans, involving four different wolves. While hazing the wolves appeared to be somewhat effective, efforts to haze one wolf were unsuccessful, and the wolf was eventually shot by a licensed hunter near a residence outside the park.