By Julie Kray
The Yellowstone Wolf Project‘s winter study means thirty straight days of full-on wolf surveillance, by ground teams using telemetry to locate radio-collared wolves, and a team that flies the entire Park daily by helicopter. The goal is to gather data on everything from wolf kills to individual behavior. In March 2007, the air team captured this moment by helicopter: wolf 302M reuniting with the Druid Peak pack, a group composed partly of his kin. Wolf 302M was a bit of a renegade, sometimes running with the Druid wolves, but often traveling alone through territories of other packs. For several weeks prior to this reunion, he had been nursing an injured hind leg and following the Druid pack at a distance, but the pack welcomed him back warmly–with a bona fide dog-pile! The Druid Peak pack famously re-introduced America to wolves in Yellowstone Park beginning in 1996-1997; today, that pack no longer exists but new packs have formed to occupy its territory in Yellowstone’s Northern Range.
For more on the Yellowstone Wolf Project, click here (see 2009 annual report for a feature story on wolf 302M, a favorite among researchers and wolf watchers), and stay tuned for a future post by Julie Kray, who volunteered for winter study in 2007.
Photo credits: Yellowstone Wolf Project, 2007.