As a recovered population, wolves are now managed by the appropriate state, tribal, or federal agencies. Within Yellowstone National Park, no hunting of wolves is allowed. Outside the park, regulated hunting is allowed and managed by the respective states where wolves occur. Because wolves do not recognize political boundaries, and often move between different jurisdictions, the harvest of some wolves that live within the park for most of the year, but at times move outside the park, occurs. To learn more visit these links:
2012 Executive Summary
Project staff detected 255 kills (definite, probable, and possible combined) made by wolves in 2012, including 159 elk (62%), 32 bison (13%), 13 mule deer (5%), 2 whitetail deer (1%), 5 deer unknown species (2%), 4 pronghorn (2%), 2 moose (1%), 2 Canada geese (1%), 9 wolves (4%), 1 bighorn sheep (<1%), 1 otter (<1%), 1 grizzly bear cub (<1%), 1 coyote (<1%), and 23 unknown prey (9%). The composition of elk kills was 28% calves, 4% yearlings, 40% cows, 21% bulls, 4% adults of unknown sex, and 3% of unknown sex and age. Bison kills included 17 calves, 1 yearling, 8 cows, 1 bull, 2 adults of unknown sex, and 3 of unknown sex and age.
Other research included population genetics, population regulation, disease, hunting behavior, spatial analyses of territory use, wolf pack leadership, multi-carnivore-scavenger interactions, breeding behavior, dispersal, and observations of wolf, grizzly bear and bison interactions in Pelican Valley.
19 wolves were captured and collared in 9 packs. At year's end 21% of the wolf population was collared.
Wolf management activities included den site closures and several hazing events. Staff continued to manage wolf viewing areas in Slough Creek and Lamar Valley and other hot spots where wolves were frequently sighted leading to a minimum estimate of 27,500 people observing wolves and 17,978 visitor contacts by Wolf Project staff. Wolf Project public outreach included 280 talks and 89 interviews.
Wolf Population Estimate by Recovery Area as of 2012 (2013 official counts will become available in early 2014)
Total (93 breeding pairs)—1585
Wolf Population Estimate by State (as of 2012)
Total (103 breeding pairs)—1674
Did You Know?
The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.