Wolves of Yellowstone
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.
Yellowstone National Park Wolf Population Estimate as of 03/01/2013
Did You Know?
Some groups of Shoshone Indians, who adapted to a mountain existence, chose not to acquire the horse. These included the Sheep Eaters, or Tukudika, who used dogs to transport food, hides, and other provisions. The Sheep Eaters lived in many locations in Yellowstone.