Yellowstone's Nez Perce Pack still missing!

Billings Gazette story 1-21 (bottom)


How could one of Yellowstone's big wolf packs, a pack with 6 radio collars, the one that inhabits the very center of the Park, just disappear? Well, they did it in late 2001, and they have done it again.

This all gray wolf pack with about 20 members has not been located since about mid-December despite recent hours of air tracking and ground searches. The pack disappeared, however, during a three week period when bad flying weather kept aerial trackers on the ground.

The Nez Perce wolves did this in late 2001 and suddenly showed up in Eastern Idaho between Ashton and Tetonia. After a few days causing local excitement, the pack disappeared (despite aerial search all the while) and showed up back in Yellowstone in the Pelican Valley.

The Ashton/Squirrel/Tetonia, Idaho area has been searched during this disappearance, but no sign of wolves.

The pack did make an incursion to the Park's northern range in December, briefly displacing the Agate Creek Pack. Ed Bangs thinks maybe they went well east of YNP, but then maybe not.

The Nez Perce Pack's central Yellowstone territory is not abundant with elk in the winter due to deep snow, although snow is light this year. It does have bison, and the Nez Perce Pack is big enough that it can kill, and does kill bison; but perhaps they are searching for unoccupied wolf territory with the easier elk.

1-21-2003. Mike Stark has picked up the story for the Billings Gazette. Wolf pack again eludes researchers.


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