Lone Wolf Howling
'BEST PHOTO' in the 2009 Banff Mountain Photography Competition, Flora & Fauna Division.
National Geographic News Announcement
Near the end of 2006, the Slough Creek wolf pack (Canis lupis) lost its alpha male in a territorial battle. An 18-month old male wolf from the Agate Creek pack boldly claimed the alpha position and the breeding opportunity with the Slough Creek pack. In January 2007 he became the youngest alpha male in Yellowstone National Park.
The temperature was 10 below zero F. As the morning light swept across the frozen Lamar Valley, there stood the young alpha male. He had just finished feeding on an elk and began howling for the rest of his pack. After 69 years of being without wolves, the howl of a wild wolf in Yellowstone is both miraculous and extraordinary. The wolf has returned to Yellowstone where he has always belonged.
Historically plagued by misinformation, fear and hatred, wolves were deliberately exterminated and by 1926 the top carnivore was absent from the Yellowstone ecosystem. The success of the wolf reintroduction will arguably stand as one of the pivotal conservation achievements of our day.