All of the wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone Park in 1995 and 1996 are now long dead.

Their counterparts who were released in Idaho, however, either by luck or the excellence of Idaho as wolf country have continued to show up. Wolf B7M, introduced from Alberta and released on the Middle Fork of Salmon River in January 1995, was recently found dead, hit by a vehicle, on a road about 15 miles north of Salmon, Idaho.

B7M was a 60 pound yearling when he came to Idaho. He soon joined with another reintroduced wolf, B11F, named “Blackfire” by Idaho school children, to form a bond that lasted ten years and established one of Idaho’s old wolf packs — the Big Hole Pack which inhabits the state border country of Idaho and Montana just to the south of Lolo Pass.

These wolves did get in a minor bit of livestock trouble early on and were briefly taken from the wild and penned in Yellowstone Park and later in an enclosure near the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho at Running Creek. They were sometimes called the “Running Creek Pair.”

The pair were both visually sighted in the summer of 2005, apparently still leading the pack they created. It is possible that Blackfire lives on still.

If you use a search engine to search my old web site, you will find many articles about B7 and B11.

Update. Jan. 19. Ed Bangs has reported that B7M was at least 13 3/4 years old. He might have been 14 3/4 years. B7 might possibly have been the oldest wild wolf on record.

 
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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.

11 Responses to Ancient Idaho wolf B7M hit by vehicle north of Salmon, Idaho. Was he the last of the reintroduced wolves?

  1. avatar Dave says:

    Well, at least now Gov. Otter won’t get to enjoy the satisfaction of bagging him.

  2. avatar Mike says:

    Interesting story, Ralph.

    It kind of gives a legend status to those old wolves still roaming the backcountry.

  3. avatar skyrim says:

    Ah yes, and “Lobo, The King of Currumpaw” Ernest Thompson Seton

  4. avatar Steve C. says:

    I guess everyone can stop whining now about removing the imported canadian wolves.

  5. Did everyone notice what a “giant” wolf B7 was when he was brought down from Canada?

    . . . 60 pounds!

  6. avatar Layton says:

    Yep, and he was mature and fully developed —– wasn’t he???

    C’mon Ralph, you can do better than that.

    8^)

  7. Layton,

    Yearling wolves are fully mature. They don’t grew any more after a year. Perhaps they made a mistake, and B7 was really an 8 month old pup.

    I have all the weights of the reintroduced wolves. It’s no secret, it,s just that no one ever checks before they talk. Take a look below. Were they giant wolves?

    * Fate of the 1995 Yellowstone wolves (table). Final revision Jan. 9, 2003. All the 1995 wolves are now dead.
    * Fate of the 1996 Yellowstone wolves (table). Final revision March 4, 2004. All of the 1996 wolves are now dead.
    * Fate of the 1995 Idaho wolves (table). Revised Dec. 4, 2005. A number of these wolves are still alive!
    * Fate of the 1996 Idaho wolves (table). Revised Dec. 2005.

  8. avatar Jon Way says:

    Many 8-9 mo. old pups can be almost fully grown.

  9. avatar Jean Ossorio says:

    B7’s story is indeed amazing. None of the original eleven Mexican wolves introduced into Arizona in 1998 remains in the wild today, although former Campbell Blue AM166 (Rio) was recaptured for depredations and remains alive in captivity at the California Wolf Center.

    His daughter, Franciso AF511 (Brunnhilde), released as a yearling in 1998, was recaptured and translocated several times, only to die of hyperthermia in captivity in 2005 shortly after being recaptured, along with a litter of pups, for killing cattle.

    The Mexican wolf with the longest continuous tenure in the wild is Hawk’s Nest alpha female AF486. She was placed in a pre-release pen in the Blue Range recovery area in late 1998 and actually released in early 1999, as a replacement mate for then Hawk’s Nest alpha male AM131 (Maska), one of the original eleven lobos. He was euthanized in 2000 after being recaptured and diagnosed with a brain tumor, following observations of disoriented behavior.

    AF486 found a new mate, Cienega disperser M619,in December 2000, and the pair has remained together ever since. They have been remarkable in the Mexican wolf program in that they have never been involved in any confirmed depredations or nuisance incidents. AF486 will be eleven years old this spring.

    One of the reasons for the lack of “old timers” in the Mexican wolf program is the large number of wolves removed for being outside the boundaries of the recovery area and for conflicts with livestock, which graze year round in a large portion of the recovery area. Added to approximately 24 illegal shootings beginning in the first year of the program and eight “lethal control” actions (i.e. government shootings) for depredations, these removals have led to considerable turnover, and to a general suppression of population growth.

  10. Jean,

    Thank you for the update on the Mexican wolves. I didn’t have a clue as to which was the oldest, or how old.

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