The Druid Peak Pack was once the largest known wolf pack, ever observed, with 37 wolves in the year 2001, but over the years members of the giant pack dispersed to form new packs, and then the long time alpha pair 21M and 42F died. 42F fell at the jaws of a rival pack and 21M, the well known alpha male just seemed to lay down a die several months later.

By the beginning of 2005 the pack was down to just 6 adults. In 2005 the much reduced pack had six pups, but they all died. The pack was pushed out of its traditional range, and its future looked grim, when as the winter of 2005-6 came with the pack reduced to just 4 adult wolves.

This last spring things looked even worse for the Druids when the larger rival pack, the Slough Creek Pack, denned, ready to produce more pups. A surprise to everyone, a new pack, called “the unknowns” showed up from unknown quarters and occupied the Slough Creek den site. As a result the Slough Pack, pupless, was disrupted.

The Druids were wary and appeared to take great care when approching their den site on a steep, forested mountain near Round Prairie in the NE corner of the Park. It was as though they did not want to reveal it to the Sloughs, who were licking their wounds or the “unknown pack.”

Surprisingly the Druids prevailed. The 4 Druid wolves crept up on the sleeping unknowns and give the interlopers a good licking. The unknowns soon disappeared for the area, and when the Druid Pack brought their new pup crop down from the heavily forested mountain to the meadows, there were an amazing 11 pups!

As summer came, the Druids went up to their traditional summering area, high on the east boundary of Yellowstone Park. There they are rarely seen by people, and seem to have no rival packs. Doug Smith, head of the Yellowstone wolf project, recently reported to me that unlike the 100% pup mortality last year, this year there is 100% survival. If this good fortune continues, the pack will soon be back among the largest in Yellowstone Park.

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

10 Responses to Yellowstone Druid Pack doing well this year

  1. avatar James E. Clark says:

    We visited the Larmar Valley last of May thru first of June this year. In 2007, we are coming Sept 16 thru the 30. How much different will the wolf and grizzly watching be at that time as it goes along with the Elk rut?

  2. avatar Wilma Erikson says:

    larmar valley is such a nice place to visit. I saw the whole druid wolf pack there, and i even petted the famous alpha female when she was still alive while they were all sleeping, what an amazing experience.

  3. avatar Karen Byington says:

    I would like to know exactly when, where and how was Wilma Erikson able to pet the famous Druid Alpha Female while she was sleeping?

  4. avatar Joyce Jung says:

    Wilma,

    I sure would like to pet a wild wolf . . . what’s your secret?? Please give details!

  5. With all respect to Wilma, I have to be skeptical of that report.
    Wild wolves sleeping as a pack would not allow themselves to be petted.
    They would hear a person coming, get up and most likely lope off.

  6. avatar Jean Wilson says:

    I have been following the Druid pack story since the begining. I live in North Yorkshire UK and I hope that everyone appreciates what you have in your country. These animals are our history and should be protected no killed by money minded people. I envy you for being able to witness these animals in their natural habitat. I long for the day when I can visit Yellowstone pack

  7. avatar Sofie Karte says:

    THe famous alpha Druid female? Which one #40 or #42? Cause far as I know they both died in 2000 & 2004. The only living surivior of the famous Druid pack is #41 and she travels with the Sunlight Basin Pack. The Druid pack now is the decendants.

  8. All three of these sisters are dead now, but I meant 40F. She was the dominant female when 21M made his move when he sensed the Druids had lost all of their adult males.

  9. avatar Minda Borja says:

    Can anyone give me an update on the new Druid Wolf pack – the daughters of 21M and 42F and their pack? Has the new pack returned to the Lamar Valley?

    T

  10. avatar Scott Murray says:

    I have been to the park in 2001 and 2005 and working toward comming in 2009. We saw the puppies leave the den in slough creek as the babysitter took them out to the roundavue site. We left the park with such a great feeling , that the pack was doing well then they lost them all. But the druids always seem to have that little extra and always come through

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