Wolf numbers hold steady in Yellowstone

Mar 11, 2012 The Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- Yellowstone National Park wildlife officials say the park's gray wolf population has stabilized at about 100 wolves over the last two years.

Officials said that represents about a 60 percent reduction from 2007 wolf numbers as elk populations also have declined.

The largest pack last year was the 19-member Molly Pack that usually stays in the Pelican Valley in the park's interior.

But officials say a lack of snowfall made it harder to kill bison so the pack migrated to the Lamar Valley.

That migration forced competition with wolf packs already in the Lamra Valley area, and wildlife officials say six wolves with radio collars have been killed in pack rivalries that are typical behavior for the animals.

Officials estimate about 25,000 visitors to the park last year saw wolves, mainly in the Slough Creek and Lamar Valley regions.

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