Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)
Despite what their name might suggest, gray wolves aren’t just gray. Their coats can vary between gray, black, white, and tan. They usually live in packs of two to over twenty wolves, communicating through scent, body language, and vocalizations. As a pack, they often hunt together to bring down large prey like bison, elk, and moose, and they also work together to raise their young pups. While it is possible to spot wolves in Grand Teton National Park, you are far more likely to view them in Northern Yellowstone at dawn or dusk, when they are most active. In GTNP, bring binoculars and keep an eye out while exploring sagebrush flats or when visiting the Elk Refuge – you might get lucky!
Wolves play an important role in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), sharing complex relationships with other species in the area. Ecologists staying at the UW-NPS research station have had the unique opportunity to study the effects of wolf reintroduction in the GYE, and in our most recent annual reports, you can read about wolves’ impact on elk, moose, aspen, and beaver.
Written by Shawna Wolf
PC: YNP on Flickr https://flic.kr/p/qsNk2e