It is said all the time that Yellowstone Park is a source of wolves — wolves don’t migrate into the Park, only out of it. This has been demonstrated to be true . . . almost.

Last spring Dr. Doug Smith spotted a new wolf in the Slough Creek Pack. After a while, and I’m not sure when, they noticed that while he had a radio collar, it didn’t seem to work. Eventually they noticed he had blue ear tags (given to wolves collared in Idaho). Finally they discovered the collar did work and was close to the frequency of Idaho wolf B195M, who originated in the central Idaho White Cloud Mountains (Lynne’s Stone’s country). They made the call apparently, and decided he is that wolf from Idaho.

Folks might recall that last summer the Slough Creek Pack got a new alpha male, when the old alpha male was hit by a car in the Park. The aggressive new Slough alpha, wolf 590M (who came from the nearby Agate Creek pack) seems to have forced B195M out of the pack.

Dan Stahler told me today that B195M now seems to be “associating” with a Slough female (527F) who has left the pack.

– – – –

Several wolves from Wyoming (not from the Park, however)have dispersed to central Idaho; and one is known to have come from Idaho to Wyoming. He joined in the formation of the Greybull Pack. B195M, however, seems to be the very first wolf from anywhere outside the near vicinity of Yellowstone Park to enter and find a place with a pack.

There is concern that the wolf populations, especially the Yellowstone Park wolf population, and maybe others if there is a big state sanctioned wolf slaughter could lose its fine genetic diversity. Interstate migrations might mitigate this. Of course, the migrants have to breed and the pups survive and breed for this to happen.

A paper or two is currently underway to investigate if there has been identifiable genetic exchange between the 3 wolf population segments — central Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

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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.

22 Responses to A first: Idaho wolf migrates to Yellowstone Park. Joins Sloughs

  1. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Which pack did B195M originate from?

  2. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Aha! He was from B2M’s Castle Peak pack!

  3. That’s what it said in Ed Bang’s report.

    My god! B2M!!

    His wolfy old man would be proud!

  4. avatar Carl says:

    Did the wolves that were introduced to Idaho come from a different area in Canada then the wolves introduced to Yellowstone? I’m just curious how different genetically the two populations may be.

  5. No. They came from the same area. Many of the packs were split by the wolf team with some members going to Yellowstone and others to Idaho.

    The packs reintroduced to Yellowstone Park were in many cases just part of the original pack from Canada, or new pairings, such as the famous trio of wolf 9F, 10M, and 9F’s daughter 7F.

    Some time ago I created tables showing where they came from and what happened to them.

    The 1995 wolves that sent to Yellowstone
    to Idaho 1995
    1996 wolves to Yellowstone
    to Idaho 1996

  6. avatar Elli says:

    I’m a little confused.
    If Slough 527F has left the pack, is B195M then with the Slough pack or is he with the female (meaning: not with the pack)?

  7. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    I’m curious if the wolf thought to be 195M from the Idaho Castle Peak Pack and long missing, is missing part of his tail?

  8. Elli,

    Neither wolf is currently part of the Slough Creek Pack.

  9. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Regarding our missing Idaho B195 wolf, apparently now wandering with former Slough Pack 527F in Yellowstone. Am wondering how common it is that two collared wolves end up together as mates. And whether having a collar somehow got another collared wolf’s attention. (I know that seems like a stretch.) This pair will be most interesting to follow!

  10. avatar Denise Johnson says:

    Lynne,
    They are drawn to each other for the fashion statements the collars make. Ha!
    No really…earlier in the post you asked if B195M was missing part to his tail.
    Well, I just got word the one with the stubby tail showed up in the Lamar yesterday and baby sat a couple of Druid pups that wouldn’t cross the road to stay with the pack as the were on the scent trail of the Sloughs. Appears they caught up with them and got a pup in the Secret Passage area.
    I this stubby tail guy older? HUMM
    How many are you missing anyway. Here the dispersers from ID are strone all the way to Greybull WY already.
    WHOA what a year and it isn’t over yet!

  11. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Denise – It crossed my mind that the Yellowstone female Druid might have been using some special collar perfume, like Essence of Elk.

    Seriously, are you saying that stubby tail who was taking care of a couple of Druid pups was collared B195M from Idaho? With regards to whether B195 is “older”, apparently he is four.

    He was a pup in 2003, one of four Castle Peak pups that year (according to USFWS wolf report in June 2003). Am not sure when he was collared, but he disappeared off the radar in March 2004 as a going-on yearling.

    To answer your question, the spud state (I like to think of it as the “Famous Wolves” state), is missing quite a few collared wolves.

    One of the yearling Basin Butte male wolves here in the Stanley area has a “bobtail”. He had his full tail as a pup last summer but something happened and by winter, he was missing most of it. He rather looks like an old English sheep dog. Very beautiful wolf and unmistakable when seen. I don’t think he has any idea of his odd appearance. Anyone out there have some ideas on how a wolf loses his tail — a bite, fight, frozen off … ?

  12. avatar catbestland says:

    Lynne Stone,
    Possibly stomped by bison or caught in a trap???

  13. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Denise – I’m sorry, I meant a Slough wolf. Regarding how a wolf might lose it’s tail, we don’t have bison here. Maybe someday again. Seems a pup tail wouldn’t get caught in a trap, but maybe one designed for a small animal. For you wolf experts, are wolves sometimes born with a “bobtail”?

  14. avatar Denise Johnson says:

    Lynne,
    Nope the stubby tail guy just showed up this past week, B195 hooked up with F527 a couple of weeks ago.
    It’s the tail thing that struck me. This guy is only missing the tip of his tail, its not bobbed.
    I’m not a wolf expert but I would venture to say don’t think they are born that way.
    In the past few weeks there have been 10 new wolves appear in the Larmar. The collared missing tip of his tail was a lone wolf who took to baby sitting the pups. An entire new pack of 6 silvers with collars (Silver Pack) and the 3 that were mentioned in Kathies report with the knock you over platinum blonde. If she had a collar she would be wearing the essence of farimones.
    Today the wolf team identified the black Slough the Druids killed and it was not a pup it was the black female they called Slant, she was 3 in April and one of the few survivors of the distemper out break in 2005.
    Last year you got me jazzed about seeing some of the Idaho wolves, so end April we were up there wished we could have hooked up, some friends who were up the first of the month and did find your auto and I believe they might have left you a note. And here we are again all jazzed and no snow. We’ve been talking and think we’ll get connected the next time. They know Ralph and he’ll vouch for them. Think you’ll be hearing from them.
    Are the elk gathering yet? When we were there they were up slope from the museum there in Stanley. Heard the wolves had been on them a few days before, but no howls and no wolves. Did the fires come close? Did the wilderness access area on the back side of Grand Jean burn?
    It’s definately as you say lots of snow with the elk in the flats equal great viewing. Talked with the ranger station, and actually met a couple of folks that were wolf friendly.
    With the whole town being for sale including Ron Gillettes place, I propose we buy the place up and make it a wolf sanctuary.
    Thanks for putting this thread up, I have been beating the drums and putting up smoke signals. To rally the friendlies.
    Happy Trails and Howlin Happy Holidays to All.

  15. avatar Denise Johnson says:

    Lynne,
    The Idaho wolf doesn’t fit the description of B195 from what I have just been told. So the collared gray with 527F is “unknown”. This new wolf is quite dapper from what I hear quite a ladies man and took to the company of Agate 471F today instead of baby sitting. He is a light light gray.
    I don’t understand why a wolf with a working collar is so hard to identify. But the two wolf teams YNP & ID are working on it. Hopefully we will get these guys ID’s.

  16. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Denise – Idaho records apparently indicate that B195, Castle Peak wolf, was a bobtail.

    Regarding seeing wolves around Stanley (perhaps this discussion should move to the just reopened “What about Idaho wolves” thread) but I’ll respond briefly here.

    The elk have not moved down yet onto their winter range in the town of Stanley, elevation 6500′, and around it, but that will change with the first major snow storm. It’s 45 degrees this morning and has been raining for days although snowing up higher. Last April was a good month for seeing wolves here.

  17. avatar Denise Johnson says:

    I have a hard time finding Idaho Pack information, haven’t seen any records that show anything other that numbers, reflecting pack size, prediation, and mortality.
    Nothing on color, collars,bobtails, pups etc.
    Could someone provide me the link to where your finding all this info. I would appreciate it.
    Thanks

  18. avatar sadie says:

    I see there are a lot of contradicting stories here.

    The Idaho Wolf is a collared gray with blue ear tags. He had been with the Slough Pack from May until September. He left when the new alpha male 590M, former Agate, took over. He was seen a number of times following the pack from a distance, scavenging on their kills when they left. He seems to have a normal tail so this is where the confusion comes in. He matches the frequency of an Idaho wolf that is said to have a bobbed-tail. However, because of the blue ear tags, he IS from Idaho.
    Recently he has not been following the Sloughs much. Slough 527F has also not been with the pack much. B195 was seen with Agate beta female 471F one morning but soon after was by himself again and 471F was back with her pack.

    The wolf that the two Druid pups joined up with was NOT B195. He was a gray wolf but whitish-silvery in color and had no collar. They played with this babysitter for the afternoon and evening but as of 11-20 they had joined back up with the main group of Druids and the gray male did not. He has not been seen since.

    The main group of Druids did kill a 2.5 year old female, called Slant, on Saturday.

  19. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Sadie – (or anyone else out there with info re. Idaho wolves in Yellowstone)

    The blue eartags with Idaho Fish & Game I.D., that are now placed in Idaho wolves trapped and collared have only been used for 18 months or so. IDFG took over wolf mgt in January 2006.

    The mystery wolf from Idaho obviously is collared and his frequency has to be known by Yellowstone wolf biologists because his collar is very unlikely to have gone off the air.

    This is all very puzzling.

    Sounds like the Idaho wolves over in the park would be better off to come back home and take their chances here, hopefully away from cattle and sheep.

  20. avatar Heard Enough says:

    ID wolves have been receiving ear tags since day 1 in 1995; it is standard procedure to put ear tags in unless extenuating circumstances make it too difficult (ie. wolf is waking from anesthesia early).

  21. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Heard Enough – my comment in reference to ear tags was to note that different ear tags are now being used since IDFG took over mgt.

    I’ve seen the ear tags and a lot of wolves. And I have to ask, if you’ve “Heard Enough”, why are you bothering to read a blog about wolves?

  22. avatar Heard Enough says:

    Lynne,

    Been away for quite awhile because I got fed up with folks like Layton, elkhunter, etc.

    There is no difference in the ear tags now in use from the ones in use since 1995, with the exception that they don’t have “FWS” printed on them now (which nobody could see anyway unless the animal was in hand).

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