Two months ago the Druid pack, based in the northwestern corner of Yellowstone National Park, numbered 11 wolves. But after the death of the alpha female, an outbreak of mange that killed seven more females and some deadly attacks from other packs, the Druid Peak Pack is now down to a single female — and experts say that single female isn’t long for this world.
At its peak the Druid Pack numbered some 37 wolves and was seen as a vibrant symbol of the worthiness of reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone National Park. But that number had dwindled in recent years, and by 200 the pack was down to four adults.
But nature abhors a vacuum; already the Silver pack, which had been based outside the Park, had moved into the old Druid territory. And the buzz at the Old Faithful Visitor Center during our recent visit was that there had been some mating among wolves in different packs, leading to speculation that there might be further realignment in the Yellowstone wolf-pack scene this coming year.
So shed a tear for the loss of the Druid Pack — and cheer that the current wolf population in Yellowstone National Park is strong enough to absorb such a loss and still thrive.
Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.