yellowstone national park
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY – Yellowstone National Park wolf biologists report that the park’s Junction Butte Pack (27 wolves) lost three wolves to Montana hunters in the first week of Montana wolf hunting season. The Junction Butte Pack transcends Yellowstone’s northern range and is the most watched wolf pack in the world.
Numerous recent overflights by the park have confirmed that the pack size has been reduced from 27 to 24 animals, losing two female puppies and a one-year-old female. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) confirms that three wolves were killed outside of Yellowstone near where the Junction Butte Pack was traveling in mid-September.
Usually the park stays away from public issues, however, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly explained on Monday that the wolves need more protection.
“Yellowstone plays a vital role in wildlife conservation efforts and Montana’s economy. These wolves are part of our balanced ecosystem here and represent one of the special parts of the park that attracts visitors from all over the world ”, said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “We will continue to work with the State of Montana to advocate for the reinstatement of quotas that would protect Yellowstone’s main wolf population as well as the direct economic interests of Montana derived from the hundreds of millions spent by park visitors each year. “
Yellowstone Wolves in the northern range spend about 5% of the time outside the park, usually in late fall. For more than a decade, the state of Montana has limited the number of wolves collected from Montana Wolf Management Units 313 (Gardiner) and 316 (Cooke City), which are immediately adjacent to the northern boundary of the park. Ninety-eight percent of Montana’s wolves are found outside of units 313 and 316.
Recent changes to hunting and trapping have lifted restrictions within these units, leaving the Yellowstone wolf population in the northern range vulnerable. Montana has also authorized baiting from private property. Over 33% of Yellowstone’s border stock with Montana is within a mile of private property where baiting is permitted.
The Junction Butte Pack was formed in 2012 in the northern part of the park. They are the most observed pack in Yellowstone, as they are found close to the northeast entrance road and the road to Slough Creek Campground, providing visitors with thousands of views daily. The pack numbered eight puppies in 2021.