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News from Yellowstone Association

Sunday, September 5, 2010 @ 01:09 PM Karen Jean Matsko Hood
Bison in the Lamar
Yellowstone Association E-Newsletter September 2010
In This Issue
We’re Almost There!
Lamar Valley Wolf Week
Comeback Wolves
Quick Links

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Animal Numbers Promising at Summer’s End

An estimated 3,900 bison, including 260 calves, are in Yellowstone National Park, according to the annual summer count. Fifty-six percent are distributed across the northern range, with the rest in the central interior, the National Park Service reports. The total is 600 more than last summer, and 900 more than the winter count. Distribution percentages were unchanged. Elk, which numbered 6,070 last winter, won’t be counted again until this winter. Precipitation has been good, so forage should be fairly available as fall begins, said park biologist P.J. White.

Among predators, 49 wolf pups have been spotted. But food is hard to come by in fall, when the elk are in top condition, and some wolves will die before the winter count, said Wolf Project leader Doug Smith. Last year, the fall count was 96 to 98. Grizzlies, meanwhile, are doing well in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, with a possible increase of 40 bears this year, said bear management biologist Kerry Gunther. The count, which is conducted in fall, was 579 last year. As much as 10 percent of the increase belongs to a park sow that had four cubs. Park visitors saw the family south of Mammoth Hot Springs in June, and they were spotted again in mid-August. Four cubs are rare, “but it looks like they are beating the odds so far,” Gunther said. People may encounter more grizzlies in the park’s lower meadows this fall because the whitebark pine nut crop at higher elevations will be poor, as it has been in half of the past 25 years. Bears will head to lower elevations in search of roots and meat instead. Visitors are warned to stay 100 yards away from bears, hike in groups of three or more, and make noise on the trail. Bear spray is useful if sprayed when the bear is within 40 feet.

We’re Almost There!
Overlook CabinsThanks to the generosity of our donors, we have reached just over 85 percent of the $2,250,000 goal required to permanently obtain a new educational facility we call the Yellowstone Overlook Field Campus. A generous friend and member of the Yellowstone Association enabled us to purchase this 80 acre property with cabins through a no-interest loan. However, we have a short window of opportunity to raise the remaining pledges and we need your help to make it happen. You can make a donation easily and securely online. To learn more please contact Crystal Leach, director of development, at or 406-848-2855.

Lamar Valley Wolf Week

Winter wildlife watching

Spend a week at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch this winter learning about wolves in the Lamar Valley-where wolf researchers and enthusiasts gather in the best place in the world to observe wild wolves. Each day includes morning wolf watching, optional snowshoe excursions, relaxation time in the afternoon, and evening guest speakers.  Program cost of $580 includes instruction, snowshoes, and three hearty, catered meals a day. Cabin and linen rentals available. Meals begin with dinner on Monday and end with breakfast on Friday. Programs run December 13, 20, March 7, and 14.

Comeback Wolves

Winter wildlife watchingEdited by Gary Wockner, Gregory McNamee, and SueEllen Campbell. Forward by Congressman Mark Udall. Comeback Wolves is a forum where 50 authors, ecologists, journalists, poets, activists, and biologists gather their voices together in protest, praise, hope, and perseverance, all in order to raise awareness of the issues, past and present, surrounding wolves. Price $15.00 ($12.75 for members).

Yellowstone Association

Phone: 406-848-2400

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