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Field Journal: Gray Wolves of Yellowstone


Yellow Dave Thursday, October 17, 1996

About the other captive wolves
Reported by Doug Smith

After releasing the Soda Butte pack from their pen, we still have 12 wolves in another pen called the Rose Creek pen. Ten of these wolves are pups and two of them are yearlings. These wolves will have been released into the wilds of Yellowstone in late winter of 1997 (March or April).

This groups of wolves is different from our normal groups. Normally we have one family — or pack — of wolves in captivity. In the Rose Creek pen we have wolves from two different packs. The two yearlings came from Canada and were separated from their pack after we released them in Yellowstone. We caught them hoping to reunite them with the rest of their pack, but this has not happened. The ten pups come from north-central Montana. Their mother was killed and they needed a home. We agreed to take them and make a home for them in Yellowstone.

When I take care of the wolves I try and stay away from them as much as possible because wolves do not like people. The wolves are nervous when I visit the pen and they run around the pen. To feed them I actually walk around inside this pen with wolves running all over the place. But the wolves never come close to me because they are afraid. This is a good indication that wolves are not dangerous to people, even when they feel threatened. Animals that are cornered are more likely to attack. Yet here is a situation that is a lot like a cornered animal, and still the wolves don't attack.

One time I went into a pen with a mother wolf and eight two-month-old pups. I needed to vaccinate these wolf pups like you would get your dog vaccinated. I walked right up to the den and grabbed the wolf pups (with the help of several other people) and the mother wolf ran away. She stayed as far away from me as she could. Wolves are definitely not dangerous to people.

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