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Field Journal: Gray Wolves of Yellowstone


Yellow Mike Wednesday, October 9, 1996

The release was successful
Reported by Mike Phillips

On Monday, October 7, biologist Douglas Smith and other Yellowstone wolf project personnel opened the Trail Creek pen to free the Soda Butte wolves. The five Soda Butte wolves had been in the Trail Creek pen since August 16, 1996. Prior to that they had been held in the Crystal pen since May.

The dominant male and female wolves of the Soda Butte pack first came to Yellowstone from Alberta, Canada, in January 1995. They were acclimated in a pen for ten weeks and released. The pack did very well in the wild for 14 months until they were recaptured in May 1996. We captured the pack because the pair had denned (built a den and given birth) on private land, outside of Yellowstone. The landowners and community did not want them there even though they hadn't killed any livestock.

Yellowstone wolf biologists needed to move the wolves to an area they had never been in before. If the pack was rereleased in their old area there would be a good chance that the wolves would return to the private ranch.

Doug Smith will try to locate the wolves by radio on Wednesday to learn if they've left the pen and where they've traveled.

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