Grant Creek Alpha Female

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Denali, Photos, Travel 5 Comments

Grant Creek Alpha Female

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.

Comments 5

  1. I can relate to being attached to seeing wildlife grow up. Like those baby wood ducks from a few months ago. You have some great wolf shots to show for it though! I typed in wolves on your site and liked what came up first. lol

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  3. no shame in that. I have photographed my dog’s “scat” on numerous occasions… on slide film too! lol. I don’t feel so weird anymore.

  4. hey Ron,

    man – I still can’t believe you got these shots .. I was SO stoked to see this scene, and then I look over my shoulder and there’s you and Janine, just a firing away! Then I find out you’d been there for an hour and I got maybe 2 minutes. That’s when I knew you were the shizzle.

    I was so bummed when I learned of this wolf’s death. She really was cool, as they all are, I guess .. but she was so comfortable with people .. I’m glad the pack is (as far as I know) continuing on, but it sure won’t be the same without her.



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