The first, and most heartbreaking pup
fatality occurred on the night of December 19, 1995. Male #22 was killed when he accidently ran into the back side of a UPS truck on a main thoroughfare that runs through
the Park. He was only 8 months old.
The second fatality occurred around mid
June 1996. The body of yearling Male #20 was found near Slough Creek in Yellowstone. It is believed that he was killed during the now famous territorial battle with the newly introduced Druid Peak Pack. Although the Rose Creek Pack had prevailed in driving the Druids from their territory, apparently young #20 continued to chase the fleeing, but still aggressive Druids too far on his own. His body was discovered the next day.
In April 1997 the bodies of Female
#19 and her 4 new-born pups
were found dead near Slough Creek.
#19 had denned alone and the
father of her pups is unknown (though
some suspect it may have been her
brother #21) The Druids are
believed to be responsible for her death as well. Her pups died from malnutrition and exposure.
Less than three months later, in July
1997, tragedy struck again when
Female #17 was killed in a freak
accident. It is believed that she
accidently impaled herself on a sharp
tree branch while out chasing prey! Her
body was discovered several days later
still impaled on the branch.
Female #17 left behind a litter of 5 pups who were successfully raised by her mate, male #34, and one of his ex-packmates, female #33, who rejoined him soon after #17's death. There is a close-up photo of #17 on the previous page. She was one of the 5 pups recaptured after the wind storm of July 1995. She was also the only brown pup in the litter.
**NOTE: Female #17's last surviving son, #113M, went on to become the Alpha male of the "Agate Creek" Pack which formed in 2002. #113 was recollared in 2006 and was still with the pack in 2008.
Female #16 is alive and well as
of this writing. The story of #16 is a very interesting one!
In early January 1997 female #16 and her sister, #17 dispersed from the Rose Creek Pack. They had met, and joined up with, roving Male #34, who was the Alpha of the Chief Joseph Pack. #34's original mate had been killed by a semi-truck and he was in search of a new one. He found two in the devoted sisters.
In the spring of 1997 both sisters gave birth to litters of 5 pups each at different den sites. Although #34 had fathered both litters he never really tended the den of #16. It is believed that female #17 was the first of the sisters to give birth and #34 may have felt obligated to tend to her den.
#34 did apparently bring food to #16 on at least one occasion, but that was about all he did for her. And after the tragic and untimely death of her sister, #16 was completely abandoned by #34 soon after female #33 rejoined him.
In August 1997, #16 was
seriously injured by a motor vehicle on
the same highway that had claimed the
life of her brother nearly two years
earlier. Though her pups were almost four months old by then, they still relied heavily on their mother for food and protection. By the time #16 had recovered from her injuries, sadly, only 1 pup remained alive.
In April 1998 #16 gave birth to her second litter. Surprisingly, #34 was the suspected father! But again, she had little or no help from him in raising the pups.
By mid winter 1998-1999 her pups had
grown large and healthy and her pack had acquired two new male members. One was a two year old known as #118, who had
dispersed from the Crystal Creek Pack,
and the other, a two+ year old known as
#165 who is believed to be the packs new Alpha male! #16 had finally found a new
and faithful mate for herself. Her pack
has recently been renamed the "Sheep
Mountain Pack" and #16 has just
given birth to her third litter. Her
pack is a major wildlife attraction just north of Park boundaries.
*NOTE: I AM DEEPLY SADDENED TO REPORT THAT FEMALE #16 DIED ON JULY 19, 2000 WHILE IN CAPTIVITY. PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR LINK TO THIS HEARTBREAKING STORY.
UPDATE #7 - THE DEATH OF FEMALE #16
Male #21 was the last of the pups to disperse. When he finally did, in
December 1997, the Druid Peak Pack (Rose Creek's arch enemy) had just tragically lost both it's Alpha and Beta males to a poacher's bullets. #21 seized the opportunity and
became the new Alpha of the Druids! Cinematographer Bob Landis filmed the entire acceptance ritual. It is the only such footage of this ritual ever recorded.
When #21 became the
Alpha of the Druids, it seemed to reduce the tension between the two packs
drastically. But the truce was not to
last. This past year, the Druid's Alpha
and Beta females led an attack on one of the Rose Creek yearlings who had unknowingly strayed into their territory. The female yearling was killed.
The Druid Peak Pack, led by proud and bold #21, are the most visible of
all the Yellowstone wolves and are
seen by thousands of Park visitors every year!
*NOTE: IT IS WITH DEEP REGRET AND A HEAVY HEART THAT I INFORM YOU OF THE DEATH OF ALPHA MALE #21. HIS BODY WAS DISCOVERED ON THE MORNING OF JULY 19th 2004. IT IS LIKELY THAT HE FELL VICTIM TO A RIVAL WOLFPACK, ALTHOUGH BEING MORTALLY WOUNDED BY AN ELK DURING A HUNT CANNOT BE RULED OUT.
Please See WOLF UPDATES For The Link To The Story On The Painfully Sad Death Of Alpha Male #21, As Well As To All Updates On The Druid Peak Pack.
Female #18 was the only pup to not disperse and is now the Beta female of the Rose Creek Pack. She whelped her first litter in 1997, and produced a second in 1998. The
father is most certainly #8, who
remains the pack's Alpha male.
Though #9 is still
the Alpha female, there seems to be no
conflict between the mother and
daughter. In fact, in 1998 they even
shared a den! This is extremely unusual
behavior for wolves, but then again, the Rose Creek Pack has always been a highly unique pack.
WOLF UPDATES For More Current News On Female #9 and Female #18.
Male #23 is the last remaining pup of the famous 1995 litter. #23 was
one of the 3 pups never recaptured after the wind storm of July 1995. #23 dispersed sometime during December 1996. He was never radio-collared and biologists lost track of him in mid 1997. There still remains the hope that #23 may be alive, but he is officially listed as "missing."