Male #13, the grand patriarch of the 1995 reintroduction has died a natural death in the southeastern corner of Yellowstone National Park.
No.13, called the "blue wolf" by some, was the alpha male of the Soda Butte Pack. 13 had the most worn teeth of any of the wolves brought to Yellowstone. The age of 13 was shown by his gun metal gray hair which imparted a blue tinge to his coat. 13 was timid in the presence of people and many thought that he had been replaced by 12M as the alpha male of the pack. However, 13 sired pups pups in both 1995 and 1996. Hopefully his mate 14F is pregnant at this time. Added 2-18-98. She was. No. 14 whelped four pups in the spring of 1997. It was her third litter since she was brought from Alberta to Yellowstone. All of her surviving pups are still with the pack.
Last August, when 13 was captured as the Soda Butte pack was moved to the southeast corner of the park, it was discovered that he had had a broken leg, apparently ever since his release from the Soda Butte pen in 1995. The break had healed and he was leading, traveling with the pack. However, it may be that the pack was taking care of 13 during this winter.
About three weeks ago, 13 was no longer keeping up with the pack. Then he stayed in the same area for an extended period of time. Recent flights have verified his death.
During recent days his mate, no. 14F traveled from the south end of Yellowstone Lake over the Pitchstone Plateau in to the Bechler area in the SW corner of the Park. Then she traveled back to the south end of Yellowstone Lake. She made this 80 or so mile trip alone, but has rejoined her pups as of today.