Missing alpha female wolf found with pups
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
Though the White Cloud wolf pack was disbanded in April, its progeny and
dominant alpha female are living on.
According to the Wolf Recovery Foundations weekly wolf progress
reports, the alpha female was found last month in northern Idaho near Lolo Pass, after
three months during which wolf experts feared the worst for her and her litter.
And against all odds, she apparently has at least two pups with her, the
In what conservationists called an "Easter Week shootout," the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorized killing members of the White Cloud wolf pack
late in April. The packs alpha male was accidentally killed in the control action.
The death of the alpha male left the pregnant female wandering the
mountains of central Idaho with a womb of pups. The pups, according to then Fish and
Wildlife Idaho wolf recovery leader Roy Heberger, faced a grim future without the alpha
male around to hunt and gather food for them and the alpha female.
The alpha male and female had been successfully relocated to the
Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness area, 150 miles north of the White Cloud Mountains, early in
April, along with two other White Cloud pack members. The male, however, completed the
long trek back to his homeland in a mere 19 days.
The whereabouts of the alpha female were unknown until this month.
The two other relocated pack members were last sighted in the Big Hole
River valley in Montana, one near Wisdom and the other near Jackson.
According to the progress report, Idaho has a minimum of 14 wolf packs
that have produced pups this spring and summer. In the Yellowstone area, 12 of the
areas 16 packs had pups.
In northwestern Montana, there are a minimum of nine packs or groups of
wolves. Based upon movements of radio collared females or reliable observations,
Montanas wolves had seven litters of pups this spring and summer.
In order to be removed from the endangered species list, each recovery
areaYellowstone, Montana and Idahomust yield 10 successful breeding pairs for
three consecutive years.
Wolf management would then be turned over to the states.