Idaho Wolf B2M is dead, perhaps the oldest wild wolf ever recorded.
5-(5-9)-2004. Media picks up the story. See bottom for three good stories
The body of wolf B2M has finally been recovered from a remote Idaho area. He was found dead next to a "raghorn bull elk." B2 might have died of injuries from elk or of old age.
Not to be confused with Yellowstone wolf R2M who was killed the Geode Pack on New Year's Eve 2002, B2M was a yet older wolf.
R2M was a yearling when brought to Yellowstone as part of the Crystal Creek Pack in 1995. He bonded with Rose Creek Wolf R7F to form the first natural wolf pack in Yellowstone in 70 years.
B2M was captured in Alberta out of the Obed Lake Pack, and named Chat-Chaaht ("older brother" in Nez Perce). When captured in late 1994, the capture records show that he was estimated to be 4-5 years old. That would make him about 14 years old at his death late last winter.
He was a small gray wolf, 76 pounds when released on the Salmon River in January 1995. He was one of the first 4 wolves released in Idaho.
B2's collar didn't work very well, and he was considered lost for several years. The problem might not have been his collar. Going through old reports I found one that said his collar's frequency had been mislaid.
During the time (1995-7) his location was not known, there were reports of a gray wolf above Sun Valley, Idaho and further east in the Summit Creek/Wildhorse Creek/Devil's Bedstead area of the Pioneer Mountains. B2 was "rediscovered" in the winter 1997-8 in White Cloud/Boulder Mountains area to the north of the Pioneers. After that he was lost again until it was determined that he had finally found a mate (B66F from the Stanley Basin Pack). The pair had moved south and formed a pack in the Pioneer Mountains area. It was named the "Wildhorse Pack," after rugged Wildhorse Creek, part of the pack's range. They had a litter of just 2 pups in the spring of 2000. In 2001 there were 5 pups and pack's size at the end of 2001 was 9 wolves.
A good portion of the Wildhorse Pack's range was Copper Basin, a beautiful high mountain valley (as long as you don't step in the omnipresent cow pies). Cows range from the Basin up into the Pioneer Mountains beyond timberline, right to rocks. I have seen cattle in the Pioneers crapping in Idaho's highest alpine lake, Goat Lake. Despite the all cattle, the Wildhorse pack was known to be responsible for just one cattle depredation. As a result one pack member was trapped and banished to Montana.
In the winter of 2000-2001, B2 and other members of pack were captured and collared. B2 was recollared. He was described as one very old wolf, but in otherwise good condition.
During winter of 2001-2, B66F, the alpha female was killed, probably by an elk. The next spring B2 and the remaining wolves ranged widely, and by the end of the year old B2 was alone, found standing in a corral in the East Fork of the Salmon River. Things did not look good. Perhaps more wolves have been killed in the East Fork for cattle depredations than any other place in Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming.
B2 was not about to end up at the wrong end of rifle. In the late winter of 2003 he seemed to have a companion, and in the spring of 2003, 4 pups were born, beginning the new Castle Peak Pack, which had much of the same territory as the previous White Clouds Pack and Whitehawk Pack, both of which had been eliminated by the government.
In 2003, the pack kept pretty much out of sight. One pup was radio collared last winter (B195), but the alpha female today still wears no collar. At this time it is not known if she denned bearing one more litter that is part of B2
Note: depending on the final estimate of B2's age, it is possible that another Idaho wolf has the age record. Wolf 90-13, the male founder of the Kelly Creek pack died at an estimated age of 13, back in 2001. 90-13 was a "native" wolf that had migrated from Montana to Idaho well before the reintroduction, but was a lone wolf until the reintroduced wolves with a female showed up.
5-5-2004. "The B2 chronicles. Idaho’s oldest wolf passes." By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer. One nice photo of B2 and Carter Niemeyer.
5-5-2004. "Wolf brought to Idaho in '95 dies. 'Chat Chaaht' may have been as old as 14 years." By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.
5-7-2004. Wolf B2 changed Idaho (broken link restored) Rural residents resented him. Cattlemen resisted him. In the end, none could ignore his legacy. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman. Long feature with photos.
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Ralph Maughan PO Box 8264, Pocatello, ID 83209