Today there are around 10 packs in the park that have about 100 wolves and over 520 individuals living in the territory of Greater Yellowstone. There will be fewer birds because the birds will not be able to eat off of the seeds of plants and trees. They both paid an outfitter thousands of dollars to take them wolf-watching. And you shoot a tranquilizing dart into it. Wolves are the largest, then coyotes, and foxes are the smallest. © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. They aren't the big bad wolf and they don't have a rainbow shooting out their ass like everyone would think they do. Doug Smith: Yes. After the endangered species act was passed in 1973, wolves were among the first to be listed, and a campaign began to restore them to Yellowstone Park. In general, wolf numbers have fluctuated between 83 and 108 wolves since 2009. How you doing? He clearly points out the various views different people from different occupations have on this issue of wolf reintroduction into the ecosystem. We process the wolves. Lamar is wide open and well supplied with paved pullouts where you can park, get out of your car and scan a wide area of open landscape. Now they are well established in Yellowstone and are found throughout the Northern Rockies of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Bill Whitaker: So to have wolves you have to kill the wolves? How Many Wolves are in Yellowstone? Since ancient times they've been portrayed in fables and legends and the Bible as fearsome, voracious predators. The beautiful flowers will have been mowed down by the abundance of moose. You should also listen for coyotes, who will make an alarm bark when wolves are in the area, and look and listen for ravens. We take blood. In 2011, the US Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that there were about 1,650 wolves in Yellowstone National Park. They love it. Wolves in Yellowstone Today . The three types of canids can be identified by their size and appearance. That helicopter flies out with a gunner in the backseat. And, hundreds of thousands of people a year, we estimate, come here just to see wolves. They'll go where they wanna go. These wolves denned there in 2019, and are usually far away to the north, so they can be hard to spot. Yellowstone wolves chase elk across road in a shocking sight. Doug Smith is quick to say that it's not as simple as he just made it sound, but that hasn't stopped some environmentalists from declaring wolves the "saviors" of Yellowstone's ecology. Rick McIntyre: Okay, here you go. They simply cannot defend themselves against predation as they have become habituated to human intervention. They are easier to see in the snow, and are more active during the day during the cold months. During the winters of 1995-1996, 41 Gray Wolves from Canada were reintroduced to the Park. It’s going to be cold so bring your hot drinks and bundle up! They are sometimes spotted from the Hellroaring Overlook, a pullout on a high point a few miles east of Tower Junction. Yellowstone was the world's first national park, founded in 1872. The Junction Butte Pack of 19 wolves is often seen here. Glen Mai is a retired FBI agent from Arlington, Virginia. Check the weather report for sunrise timing and predicted temperatures. Bill Whitaker: You went out looking for a wolf and saw how smart they are, how cunning they are, how athletic they are? Doug Smith: Your average wolf weighs 100 pounds or so. Kathy Lombard is a retired cop, from New Hampshire. First wolves being transported into Yellowstone for release-January 1995 In January 1995, U.S. and Canadian wildlife officials captured 14 wolves from multiple packs east of Jasper National Park, near Hinton, Alberta, Canada. Cross-country skiing in Yellowstone is a great way to spend your winter vacation. (Double click the image below to edit your own bubbles.You may need to recreate your own. These wolves arrived in Yellowstone in two shipments—January 12, 1995 (8 wolves) and January 20, 1995 (6 wolves). They're running along the top. Bill Whitaker: I'm sure you knew it was only a matter of time before they were gonna get here. Even though Yellowstone is probably the best place in the world to spot wild wolves, it’s not always easy to find them. Where do you stay? Doug Smith: They're gonna take the weak. (You can also snowmobile in the park, but we prefer being active on vacation.) Visitors with spotting scopes gather in absolutely frigid weather for a momentary, long-distance view. Winter is also the hardest time to get into the park, with only one road (the northern road from Gardiner, MT to Cooke City, MT) staying open all year. With their thick coats of fur, wolves are often sluggish during warm summer days, when they may lie in the shade all day sleeping and digesting. Glen Mai: We've seen wolves all three days that we've been out. All together there are approximately 75 different packs in the greater Yellowstone region. So it's a little bit right of center. This is a great time to see them because they are covering quite a bit of ground and doing a lot of howling, posturing and chasing around. Doug Smith: Our goal is to keep touch with each pack. Wolves are usually crepuscular, that is, active at dusk and dawn. That airplane radios a waiting helicopter on the ground. This gully filled with shrubs has all come back since wolf recovery. However, other nearby areas can be just as good or better for wolf spotting. It took almost 60 years for them to make a comeback. Doug Smith: The thing that's never monitored, when I talk to these people, is the lost nights of sleep, the nervousness; "I saw a wolf track at my place today," or, "I actually saw a wolf. The Canyon Area of Yellowstone is one of the best areas to hike with tons of opportunities. The Lamar Canyon pack is only a couple of wolves now, but are sometimes seen near the Northeast Entrance along Soda Butte Creek. Bill Whitaker: So, the first wolves released into Yellowstone Park were released right back here in this-- this thicket? They are usually quite friendly and will offer advice. Bill Whitaker: Three, four, five, six black ones, and the white one that went by. There's a hunting season on wolves. Your best bet is the hire a naturalist guide who will know where and when wolves are most likely to appear. Spot the bear as it is feeding and wolves may be lurking nearby. Elk populations that remain steady in numbers throughout the year are much more resilient to drought. Seasonally, winter is the easiest time to spot wolves in Yellowstone. We measure them. The wolves are out there, but they're hard to find, which is why we're hookingup with Doug Smith. They work together, because they have to. At least 136 wolves were killed in the park between 1914 and 1926. Erik Kalsta's family has been raising cattle and sheep on this Montana ranch for 100 years. Doug Smith: Five minutes, it goes down. Yellowstone itself is more than 2.2 million acres and is surrounded by Wilderness areas, so wolves have a lot of room to roam and often disappear for days or weeks. A wolf's howl is one sound that you can hear quite often. Grizzly Overlook or some of the wide pull outs north of there are the best places to watch. There was a time when wolves sat atop the Yellowstone food chain, but their population dwindled and eventually disappeared from the park. , which helps a lot for spotting them in the Greater Yellowstone region 94 wolves grouped into different. Is found along this Northern road been emerging at a certain spot every evening protect those.! Visitors with spotting scopes gather in absolutely frigid weather for a momentary, long-distance view happens... Your chosen viewing spot before sunrise if possible alpha male and female alongside... 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