Wolf population has dropped by 27% in Yellowstone.

Distemper devastates Yellowstone wolves.
Powell Tribune

About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

8 Responses to Distemper devastates Yellowstone wolves

  1. Virginia says:

    This year has been “good news-bad news” for the wolves of Yellowstone. First we get Kathy’s upbeat report on the new packs and then we get this terrible news. Does this distemper come from domestic dogs or is it just a factor of the life of a wolf? I am ignorant about this disease in the wild.

  2. Ken Cole says:

    It is endemic in wildlife now. In other words, it is not necessarily coming from domestic animals.

  3. Jeff says:

    I don’t necessarily see this as bad news, it undermines the arguement by some that wolves breed and expand exponentially. Wolf numbers will fluxuate, but the overall levels in Yellowstone will vary within this range. Predators tend to natually regulate their populations and more so when denseties of populations are high. Also, six breeding pairs in Yellowstone will make the USFWS and the WY Game and Fish rethink their assumption on how many breeding pairs Yellowstone can be counted on having for the total Wyoming requirement.

  4. This and the growing outbreak of mange also highlight the importance of Idaho wolves where the population seems healthy, disease and parasite free.

  5. Narcissus says:

    Distemper, once almost forgotten, has reared it’s ugly head again in both wild and domestic populations. It has been years since I’ve seen a raccoon with Distemper, and this year I saw one at Turkey Run State Park. He was so sick. I’ve seen an increase on message boards of people asking for help because their newly adopted puppy has a cough and is sick…a few weeks later they post that it was Distemper.

    I think part of the reason it’s seized the domestic animals so heavily this year is because of the economy. So many are skipping their dog’s vaccinations in favor of food and gas, but it’s such a mistake to do so as Distemper is an awful disease, and apparently is on the rise in wild populations.

  6. JB says:

    Is there a table with the YNP population since ’94? I’d be interested to see what the long term trends are inside the park.

  7. SaveBears says:

    I read an article today, that Doug Smith stated he believed the distemper has run its course in the park population…

  8. robert says:

    What happened to the Slough Creek Pak? I heard they were all dead and what was left disspersed? I was last there in sept 08. Haven’t been keeping up with the blogs. thanks


March 2009


‎"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."

~ Edward Abbey