Wolf 755

This is “Wolf 755“, the Alpha Male of the Lamar Valley wolf pack in Yellowstone… I was lucky enough to spend parts of two days with different members of this pack a couple of weeks ago during our trip to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. After a 4 am wake-up call and a 2 hour drive across to the far side of the park, we were first able to watch 4 of the 5 pups wandering about in the early morning light, tho`at quite a distance. Shortly after the pups headed back to the denning area, the adults got up and started moving around in the sun.
After the traditional greetings and reinforcing of the pack bonds and hierarchies, the four adults – two black (including 755 and his brother 754 – the beta male of the pack) and two gray – moved up the valley to the northeast. I followed, hoping they would show themselves further along the hillside. They did… at least briefly before disappearing back into the forest on the hillside. Rick McIntyre was, of course, one of the watchers out with the group that morning, and I was lucky enough to be at the same pull-out as him, so had the added benefit of his knowledge the wolves had not left through the use of his telemetry equipment.
We waited for best part of an hour, scanning the hillside and seeing nothing more than a couple of noisy Sandhill Cranes… Suddenly, 100 yards out, there he was… How he got from the forest a quarter of a mile away to within a hundred yards across barren sage was a mystery to the half-dozen of us collectively watching, but he did. He continued to walk towards us, scanning regularly, and then pausing to make sure the route was clear before crossing the highway and heading back into the river valley, presumably to return to an old elk carcass they had down in the valley for a bit of breakfast. What a pay-off…
On the drive home that day I was lucky enough to see two wolves of the Canyon Pack feeding of the remnants of a week-old bison carcass that had been feeding a lot of the local wildlife for the week – at one point as many as 8 Grizzlies and 3 wolves, as well as numerous coyotes, bald eagles and ravens. Two days earlier, I had set the same 4 am alarm and done the same 2 hour drive, to be rewarded with seeing all 5 of the Lamar pups – 3 black and 2 gray – though at a considerable range. Spectacular…

~ by Kerry Statham on August 29, 2011.

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