Friday, December 11, 2015

Yellowstone Publishes 2014 Wolf Project Annual Report

Yellowstone National Park recently published the latest Wolf Project Annual Report for 2014 on their website.

According to the report, there were at least 104 wolves in 11 packs, including nine breeding pairs, living primarily in Yellowstone National Park during December 2014. From 2009 to 2014, wolf numbers have fluctuated between 83 and 104 wolves, and 6 to 9 breeding pairs. Pack size in 2014 averaged 9 wolves (range = 2 to 14). Forty pups survived to year-end, including 17 in northern Yellowstone and 23 in the interior of the park. An average of 4.4 pups per pack (82%) survived in the nine packs that had pups. For the first time, the size of a wolf pack was estimated via genetic sampling methodology, using scat samples from a den site.

The number of wolves in the park increased by 9 over the prior year, when 95 wolves were counted in 2013. Wolf numbers reached their highest count within the park in 2003, when roughly 175 wolves were identified.

Although wolf packs once roamed from the Arctic tundra to Mexico, loss of habitat and extermination programs led to their demise throughout most of the United States by early in the 1900s. In 1973, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the northern Rocky Mountain wolf as an endangered species and designated Greater Yellowstone as one of three recovery areas. From 1995 to 1997, 41 wild wolves from Canada and northwest Montana were released in Yellowstone.

According to the park website, an estimated 400–450 wolves live within the entire Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

To read the full report, please click here.


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