The wolves transplanted to Yellowstone National Park last year have taken root so well that some of the second batch will be released away from them in far southern parts of the park.
Some of the original transplants appear to be jealous of the newcomers.
Wildlife workers expect to release the 17 new wolves in the first couple of weeks of April, said Yellowstone Park biologist Mike Phillips. They are being held in acclimation pens in the Lamar Valley, as were the 14 last year, but some of this year’s batch will be transplanted a second time.
Pens holding two groups of the new wolves sit within territories claimed by wolves that arrived last year. There has been no direct conflict, but one pack on the outside has approached one of the pens and howled, as if notifying the occupants they are on someone else’s turf.
Releasing the new wolves in existing territories might stir conflict, said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery leader for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Even if they don’t fight, the incoming wolves might be so startled to find themselves in another pack’s territory that they may leave Yellowstone.