Update: March 6, 2010 The Druid Peak Pack is down to just one wolf. This is a tragic end to a legendary wolf pack. Click here for the sad story.
Wolves are the rock stars in Yellowstone National Park. No animal is more popular, with the exception of the Great Bear. Wolves are charismatic, social, smart, great parents and completely captivating. One pack stands out against the backdrop of Yellowstone’s “little Serengeti” Lamar Valley….The Druids.
For years they ruled the Lamar Valley, battling other wolf packs for dominance BUT they’ve suffered a setback in recent times. The pack that once numbered 37 have diminished to just 10 wolves, who are plagued by mange. BUT the Druids are making a comeback and if they can beat the mange as the Mollies Pack have, they may once again take their place as the rulers of the Lamar.
Still the Druid Peak Pack are the most celebrated wolf pack in the world, having been featured in several National Geographic documentaries, specifically: Wolves: A Legend Returns to Yellowstone and In The Valley of the Wolves. Since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995 and the subsequent formation of the Druids, they have been and will continue to be studied and researched by teams of biologists and wolf researchers such as Doug Smith and Daniel MacNulty. They attract tourists from around the globe,who breathlessly observe them through high powered viewing scopes. The Druid’s lives are played out, against the backdrop of Lamar, like a lupine version of a famous soap opera. (click this link for the full Nature version of: In the Valley of the Wolves)
Here is the beginning of their story, told through the lens of Bob Landis, famous filmmaker, director and photographer. Sadly, the Druids famed alpha’s #21 and #42 are no longer with us but the Druids live on in their beloved Lamar.
IN THE VALLEY OF THE WOLVES
The Director, Bob Landis, discusses the Druids and the making of this spectacular glimpse into their lives.
Yellowstone wolves are worth their weight in gold, bringing in $30-$35 million per year, in tourism dollars, to Greater Yellowstone. They are more profitable then hunting in that area.
Instead of killing wolves we should be re-thinking ways to increase eco-tourism, which could generate big revenue across Montana, Idaho and the west. Ninety percent of the public does not hunt. The majority of Americans want their wildlife living and breathing. We must stop living in the past, using arcane and cruel methods to control our predators for agriculture and move forward into the twenty first century, respecting wolves as top dog predators who are necessary for a balanced and healthy ecosystem. It’s the wolf who honed the elegant elk into the beautiful creatures they are, not man. Nipping at their heals, down through the ages, canis lupus bequeathed to the elk, their fleetness of foot.
For many Americans wolves remain a symbol of freedom, an icon of the West. The wild canine’s continuing recovery and presence will help preserve the wild places for our children and their children. But if we continue down the destructive path we’re on will our legacy to them be a West Without Wolves?
legendary Druid alpha’s #42 and #21
Yellowstone Druid Wolves I
Photo: Wikemedia Commons
Categories posted in: Yellowstone wolves, biodiversity
Tags: Yellowstone wolves, gray wolf
Wolf tourism in Yellowstone region