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Wolves in Yellowstone: A Short History

Wolf pack hunting

Wolf pack hunting

Seen as a circle of snarling, long-fanged killers closing in on the prey; or as a curious, dog-like face with fluffy white rimmed fur -- either way, wolves get our attention. Wolves are smart. They are persistent and fierce predators. They hunt in groups, as a pack. Pack hunting by wolves stimulates fear in the human imagination almost more than any other large predator, excepting the great cats (tigers, lions, cougars). Wherever wolves exist, they become the subject of mythology, and the present day is not excluded (think werewolf).  Wherever there are wolves, there are people who fear them, hate them, respect them, and venerate them. This is another way of expressing that wherever there are wolves and people, there is potential for conflict and controversy.

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Wolf Attacks on People

Like almost everything about wolf behavior, wolf attacks on humans are a matter of controversy. Movies and television routinely show people attacked by wolves, which leaves the impression that wolves are extremely dangerous. Then there is Kevin Costner doing the twist with ‘Two Socks’ in the movie Dances with Wolves. Many studies on wolf attacks have been done over the …

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Greater Yellowstone Wolf Pack Map 2007

For starters: There is no such thing as a completely accurate map of wolf packs. Packs break up and form all the time, and they can change location. Most recent data is from 2007, so it’s already many months old, but the map can still provide a reasonable overview of the dispersal of wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

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Gateway City: Cody

While a major figure in American history, Buffalo Bill Cody is also a secondary figure in the history of Yellowstone National Park proper. Both are regarded as centerpieces of the original Wild West, and while there’s little evidence Cody actually spent a lot of time in the Park, some of his many entrepreneurial endeavors involved the Park in some manner. …

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Wolf population grows; may be taken off endangered list

We will probably be in for another battle over the status of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, as officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are broaching the possibility of removing gray wolves from the national endangered list. Indeed, a cursory look at the numbers would seem to argue that the gray wolf has made an amazing comeback in …

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Wolves in Yellowstone: Current Topics

 Wolves Leave Endangered Species List  A current controversy involving wolves is their delisting as an endangered species in the reintroduction areas of Yellowstone and Central Idaho. The officially adopted recovery plan stipulated that when the reintroduction locations reached at least 10 wolf packs of at least 10 members, the wolf would be down-listed from endangered species and potentially regulated hunting of …

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Mammoth to Tower road work delayed

Be prepared for some road delays in Yellowstone National Park in a few weeks, as the resurfacing of the highway between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower will start Aug. 6. That stretch of road is in sore need of repair. It’s also a key road in the Yellowstone world: it is one of the few that’s open year-round, as it …

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New light-eating bacteria discovered in Yellowstone

Scientists have warned for decades that they’ve barely touched the surface of what makes bacteria in Yellowstone National Park’s famous geysers tick; yes, we’ve know bacteria can thrive in unconscionably hot conditions and gain sustenance from the slimmest of food sources. But a new discovery may be the most breathtaking of all: scientists say they’ve found bacteria that can covert light …

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Gateway Cities: Red Lodge, Cooke City

Cooke City

Cooke City postcard

The Lamar Valley is one of the least-visited parts of Yellowstone National Park, but it’s one of our favorite areas for a day trip when combined with a short jaunt to Cooke City, Montana. The Lamar Valley is one of the best places to view wildlife in the Park: grizzlies, antelope, wolves, and the ubiquitous bison can be spotted more easily there than in most of the rest of the Park, especially early in the morning. And while you’ll need to worry about hitting traffic spots clogged with animal watchers, they tend to be less frequent than those found in the rest of the Park, even at the height of tourist season.

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Outside the Park: Accommodations

The best Yellowstone National Park experience should include one or more nights actually sleeping in the Park, whether it be a stay at the Old Faithful Inn or a night sleeping under the stars at Slough Creek or Tower Fall. But unless you’ve planned ahead months in advance, you may find yourself shut out of the most desirable locales — …

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