Thursday, November 4, 2010

We're back at the Ranch

Linda and I have returned for our second year, we'll be here for November and December. Lots is happening in the Park, over 3.5MM visitors this year, a record!!! The drama with the wolves never ends. The Druids from last year are gone, but a new pack has replaced them, the Lamar Canyon Pack. That is not to say that the other packs are dormant. The count in the Park went below 100 at the end of last year. But as of right now the number is about 126, so there has been an especially good year for pups. And the browse because of good moisture was above average and the deer, elk and bison appear to be in fine shape.
We observed the Lamar Canyon pack in June when they were just coming out of the den by Slough Creek. On Tuesday we saw them and when they were against the adults, you could tell the difference. But they look great, four pups and three adults. The Silver Pack has also been in the Lamar, but there was a mortality signal from one of the collared wolves. They will try to recover the collar and do a necrocopsy on the animal to determine the cause of death. It probaly leaves only one wolf in the Silver, so it will not be considered a pack anymore and it will be interesting to see where that wolf goes.
The elk are just starting to come down to the Valley, the snow is driving them and that should help the wolves. Since the elk are so healthy the wolves are going to work for food. We visited a carcass on Monday, an elk calf that had been cleaned to the point of bare bones after only two days.
I supported the first class, "Are Wolves worth the effort" and Linda is supporting the second, "A Deeper View of Wolves". Both of these classes are full of information about the Park, the animals, the genetic, environmental, and behavioral aspects. Lots of good info that I will not attempt to relay, but in addition there were hikes to dens, to carcasses and plenty of watching of wolves. The Lamar and Yellowstone are the perfect place for these types of activities.
I'll attempt to do this about once a week and do invite any comments or critiques since I do not have a background in journalism.

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