Wolf, Yellowstone National Park

Photo of one of two females of what is left of the Lamar Canyon Pack.

Black Female Wolf, Lamar Valley

This is one of only three wolves that remain in the Lamar Valley.  At one time there were over 30 wolves in the Lamar.  Wolf numbers are down throughout the park due to various factors such as wolves killing other wolves and humans shooting wolves when they move outside park boundaries.

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About Jim Coda

I am a nature photographer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I specialize in photos of birds, mammals, and landscapes.
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17 Responses to Wolf, Yellowstone National Park

  1. Marjorie Ackerman says:

    Enjoyed reading your blog! So refreshing and heartwarming that we can read about all the happy experiences especially at this time when they are fighting for their very existence again.

  2. Heidi says:

    Very cool! That was an amazing experience, seeing those three wolves that night, one I will never forget! Were you able to get any pictures of the Alpha female or alpha male? I know they were farther away, my telephoto wouldn’t work on them.

  3. Heidi says:

    Hi Jim, I came across your picture when I was searching for the Lamar Valley pack, and I am almost positive I was there when this picture was taken! I took almost the exact picture, but yours is way better 🙂 But we were standing on the small hill when she came down to feed on an elk carcass the pack had killed the night before…she pranced right near us and across the road to the elk..is this the same night? It was around June 14th or 15th 2013..Beautiful picture!

  4. These free wandering wolves don’t have boundaries, They do have their home territories and they do wander into and out of each others designated areas. The 3 Lamar’s are the home pack for the valley and others wander around. All of them follow the game. Big Gray is from the Pahaska pack of Wyoming, And WP says 856M of the Wyoming Hoodoo pack is the pups father. We have Lamar wolves in both Wyoming and Montana now through dispersing. 776F took most of 06’s pack with her to Wyoming. When the Druids lived in Lamar the numbers were very high, then they were gone. 06’s were up to 13 …now they are down to 3 in the valley. You are correct with 3 home based wolves in Lamar Valley, but the others come and go into each others space and tourists can find wolves most anywhere. JB’s are Hayden bound, and I have not heard anything on the Agate’s in quite awhile. Same with the Mollies, they may be gone now. This hunting/trapping has done so much damage to the wolf packs. Their entire pack order has been shattered. And your picture of the Black Lamar female is wonderful.
    The manner in which you wrote your description painted a pretty bleak picture and I just wanted people to know there are still wolves in Yellowstone. if 776F brings her pack back to the valley it would bring the numbers back up to around 13 not counting pups of this year.
    Lets hope this miracle happens. In Respect, Jann

  5. Mr. Coda, This photo is of ‘The Black Lamar Female’ aka: Spitfire. She is 1 of 2 offspring of the famous 832F aka 06 that was killed Dec. 6, 2012 of the Lamar Canyon Pack. Middle Gray is the name of her sister that she resides with in the Lamar Valley. Middle Gray had pups this year and a male has joined them to make 3 in the group not counting the pups. There are other wolves that reside in the Lamar Valley besides these 3. Perhaps you meant these are the remaining 3 of the Lamar Canyon Pack residing in the valley. Their sire 755M is also around the area. As are the Canyons, Junction Buttes, and Agate packs. There are certainly more wolves in Lamar than three.

    • Jim Coda says:

      Hi Jann. I saw and photographed the three adults you describe and knew Middle Gray had pups. I didn’t know, one way or the other, whether Spitfire and Middle Gray were the offspring of the Lamar Canyon Alphas. Thanks for clarifying that. I was told the new male came from outside the park and I assumed (possibly incorrectly) he did so after 06 was shot and 755M left. I also heard he was not the father of the pups.

      Based on what I heard, I understood these three adults were the only wolves living in the Lamar Valley. Maybe those people were talking in the context of the Lamar Canyon Pack only. I didn’t find the “Yellowstone Wolves 2013” fact sheet very helpful in this regard. You’ve got me confused, though, on the packs you mention. Based on the fact sheet, I understood that those packs live outside the Lamar Valley. Looking at the map showing the territories of the various packs, the territory of the Junction Butte Pack seems to encompass the greater Tower area. The Canyon Pack is shown on the fact sheet as west and south of the Junction Butte Pack. I also heard several people say they were in the Hayden Valley now. The Agate Pack I can’t even find on the fact sheet. I realize these animals can cover lots of ground and it’s possible that things have changed since the fact sheet was printed.

  6. Charlotte Crackbon says:

    Wow!! pretty impressive, I wonder how you can tell there’s only a few now, of course your spending hours I imagine watching for them. We had a summer shower of rain here in Novato,
    have been getting strong winds for over two weeks. A few hotter days mixed in.

    • Jim Coda says:

      Hi Charl. A lot of research is done on the wolves. The Park Service knows how many packs there are and how many wolves are in each pack.

  7. Alan says:

    That’s a fantastic shot Jim! You can really see the eyes which I love.

    We saw this wolf once on our trip but it was much farther away.

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