Wolf experts are all abuzz about new wolf dynamics taking place this winter in the park’s backcountry.
Douglas Smith, project leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project, says wildife biologists now confirm at least two of Yellowstone’s 10 wolf packs have now learned how to hunt bison.
“This is the scientific opportunity of the century to learn about wolves,” explains Smith who has headed up Yellowstone’s Wolf Project since it started in 1994.
Yellowstone’s wolf population reached a peak of 174 wolves in 2003. Since then, wolf numbers in the park have been declining primarily because of a smaller elk population, the main food of the northern range wolves.
But this winter, both the Mollie Pack and the Mary Mountain Pack have turned their attention to bison. Smith says wolf biologists have been fascinated to watch the Mollie Pack transfer its bison hunting skills to one of its rival packs.
“It was shocking to us, we’ve never seen this before,” said Smith.