I posted at length this spring about a number of wolves in Denali – I was particularly attached to the Grant Creek Pack since I had been photographing the two adults for a number of years. I first spotted the female in 2002 – she was a hunting machine. I was thrilled to see her form a pack with one of the beautiful black wolves from the Tokalat Pack. It was almost like having two good friends meet and then get married!
On my travels through Denali this month I learned the alpha female had died. I heard conflicting reports from Park personnel on the timing, but the one thing everyone agreed upon is that the collar had been transmitting a deceased signal. I still found myself glassing areas in which she liked to travel looking for that familiar gray coat and radio collar – it was kind of sad knowing I wouldn’t see her again. The life span for a wolf is a short one in Alaska.
The male is still alive and has a new mate from what I’m told. The past few years they have denned very near the road – thrilling visitors who often were able to spot and watch this rare animal in action. This year the male denned far from the road – I’m not surprised, between road work and construction of a new Eielson Visitor Center, there is a lot of traffic on the road day and night.
This photo was from a number of years ago – it was hard to get a decent photo of her without the collar showing. This is what I had to say about the same wolf this spring.