Wolf from Park’s most remote pack ends up near Pine Ridge, South Dakota-

The third wolf from the Yellowstone Park area over the years to disperse all the way to South Dakota has been found dead.  The big male wolf was hit by an auto along U.S. Highway 18.  Over the last decade two other wolves from in or near Yellowstone have been found dead in western South Dakota. This shows how far a wolf seeking a mate will travel. Of course, famous former Oregon wolf OR7 traveled perhaps a thousand miles (including the kinks and backtracks) in migrating from NE Oregon to northern California.

The wolf was born to the Yellowstone Delta Pack, which lives in the most remote, roadless part of Yellowstone Park.  There is little chance of any wolves creating a successful wolf pack in South Dakota, which may be sparsely populated but is open, and well roaded. It is possible that in an irony of ironies a wolf could migrate from Yellowstone all the way through the Dakotas to Minnesota where wolves were never extirpated.

Story from a South Dakota newspaper. Wolf found near Pine Ridge migrated from Yellowstone. Kevin Woster. Rapid City Journal staff

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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.

8 Responses to Yet another Yellowstone wolf disperses to South Dakota

  1. avatar Mtn Mamma says:

    The Delta pack are tough bison hunters. I heard Doug Smith say that the biggest Yellowstone wolf recorded was a Delta. I will have to check my lecture notes, but I think I remember 147lbs and the wolf’s stomach was empty. Too bad this guy didn’t get to contribute some of that DNA.

  2. avatar Jon Way says:

    Fascinating!

    A wolf that size surely would be a monster for the roughly 70 to 90 lb MN wolves – which have eastern wolf DNA in some of their specimens and hence why they are slightly smaller. It would be very interesting if one does make it all the way to MN from Yellowstone area.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      It would be an interesting because the genetic purity of the western wolves is greater than the Great Lakes wolves.

      My statement is based on my interpretation of Figure 4 in Von Holdt, et al., “A genome-wide perspective on the evolutionary
      history of enigmatic wolf-like canids”

  3. avatar Jeff says:

    I’d rather see some Northern Rockies wolf genes freshen up the lobos to the south. Maybe that pack near Provo could produce some dispersers…

  4. avatar John R says:

    It would be interesting if a pack were to be established in the Badlands National Park.

  5. avatar red says:

    With a full stomach that wolf may have come close to the 175 lb. heaviest wolf on record from Alaska.

  6. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    How many Minnesota wolves have dispersed into South Dakota? It’s a long shot but it would be interesting if a Yellowstone and Minnesota wolf met up in South Dakota.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

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