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Thank you for reading these important updates. We appreciate your support as we educate, advocate and participate on behalf of wolves.
In This Issue
20 Years of Wolf Recovery
Pens are Open
Arnold & Natasha
Significance of Wolves 9F & 10M
20 Years for Yellowstone Wolves
About Us
Thinking Back 20 Years 
Yellowstone Wolves

The wild returned to Yellowstone...... While the wolves arrived in January of 1995, they were not released from acclimation pens until March. They needed to be confined because of the numerous livestock operations surrounding the Park and there was concern over how the wolves would behave. Would they attempt to return to their former home in Canada? Would they stay in Yellowstone?  


The pens were located about one-quarter to one mile away from the nearest road. The wolves were fed road-killed carcasses of deer, elk, moose and bison twice each week, by volunteers. Often mule-drawn sleighs, and occasionally pack horses, were used to transport the carcasses to the pens. The volunteers minimized human contact, as much as possible. 


Legal posturing and proceedings delayed the release from the kennels in the pens. Wyoming cattlemen attempted to stop the process every possible way, but science overcame myth and, with the help of attorneys and a tremendous effort from many individuals, working towards the goals of wolf restoration, finally in March it was time to open the pens..... 

Running Free

On March 21st at about 4:15pm the gate to the Crystal Creek Pen was opened. And nobody knew what to expect ... intense waiting and speculation ensued....Radio monitoring equipment was used to track the wolves from the very beginning. And from the signals, they discovered wolves had not left the pen. 


So, after many discussions, it was decided that they would cut an opening in the pen, in an area separate from the entrance gates that were utilized by humans. Seventeen hours later, a signal from the motion detector, which had been placed near the opening, was picked up, indicating that the wolves had left the pen. 


But, to the surprise of the researchers, they discovered that the Crystal Creek Pack was slipping out of the pen at night to feed on a winter-kill elk nearby, only to return to inside the pen during the day. Ultimately, it took 10 days before the Crystal Creek Pack left the area. Happy with the results of the Crystal Creek Pack release, researchers decided to open the Rose Creek Pen in a similar manner, as that Pack seemed to have doubts about leaving their enclosure through the gate. 


Researchers packed up the cutting tools and headed the mile up the hill behind the Buffalo Ranch. As they came upon a rise, just before the pen, Doug Smith reported that they stopped to notice 9F, pacing nervously back and forth. Normally, 9F would take refuge in the rear of the pen when approached by humans. So this was puzzling. As they were assessing the situation, from behind their position came the most soulful and yearning howl. Number 10M was standing there looking right at the researchers. Clearly #10M was not reluctant to leave the pen, like the others had been. 


Arnold & Natasha

(aka 10M & 9F)

Wolf Number 10M was in the Hinton, Alberta group of 14 wolves, destined for Yellowstone in January of 1995. He displayed an attitude different from the others, and at about 110 pounds, was nicknamed "The Big Guy" or "Arnold," as he displayed the boldness, confidence, strength and machismo, earning his name. 

Wolf 10M
Quite frankly, Wolf 10M was a hunk of a wolf. Renee Askins described Wolf 10M ..."Arnold held himself like a proud dancer, Snowy golden, alert and undaunted..." Indeed, this was a special wolf from the start of his short life here. And Arnold had an attitude, different from the others, according to his captors. He had immediately tried to dominate Wolf 9F upon his introduction to the Rose Creek Pen. "She took no guff and soon, with Arnold appropriately starstruck, the two became deeply bonded" said, Renee. 

Number 9F was given a nickname by Renee Askins, who was
Wolf 9F
responsible for the Wolf Fund, and a main researcher involved in wolf recovery. Number 9 was named after, and in honor of the wolf pup she had raised as a graduate student, and promised to help her species, Natasha. 

Natasha/Wolf 9F of Yellowstone was from the McLeod River Pack, snared on December 3, 1994 and brought to the Alberta facility for processing by Carter Niemeyer. As she arrived, a familiar feeling was perceived by Renee, who was able to spend time with her and described her as, "a dark chocolate color, not exactly black but sort of sooty warm darkness, grizzled and highlighted in a beautiful interpretation of dusk. 

The guard hairs on the ridge of her withers and back were flecked with a thousand shades of smoky gray and her chest an undercoat of cinder and pearl and opal that prickled through the carbon shine of her overcoat. Her muzzle, underneath, had the peppered sheen of lilac gray just starting to hint at full maturity. I loved this wolf from the moment I saw her, or, more accurately, felt her." Renee asked this beautiful female to be the mother of wolves in Yellowstone. She later became pregnant with #10M's 8 pups that would be born in May of 1995. 

Recovery Continues

According to Doug Smith, at the 10th year mark, over 70% of all Yellowstone Wolves could trace their lineage back to Wolf 9F. 

To think it all started as a thought so many years ago, as the "fierce green fire" sparked, what would become one of the greatest environmental movements for generations to come. 
Many of our supporters cannot remember a time when there were no wolves in Yellowstone. It took a vision, political leadership and commitment from individuals around the world for wolves to once again, to walk and run free in the largest, intact wild, temperate ecosystem in North America. 

There were so many people who made this happen, and so many continue working to see that future stewards of the landscape, will be able to see wild wolves running free, healing environments where present. 

Recovery continues.... Thank you for being a Wolfwatcher!

Shadow Mountain by Renee Askins
Decade of the Wolf by Douglas Smith & Gary Ferguson
Kat Brekken National Wolfwatcher Coalition Eco-Education & Tourism Director
Photos courtesy of National Park Service
 Celebrate 20 Years of Wolf Recovery With the Purchase of a Specially Designed Yellowstone Shirt!
This month marks 20 years since the pens were open and wolves were running free in Yellowstone.

To commemorate this historic event, the National Wolfwatcher Coalition is offering this shirt, designed especially for us. 

The shirt is available in short, long sleeve, hoodies and youth sizes.

The National Wolfwatcher Coalition has no membership dues and we do not send out mailers asking for money.  We exist because of the hundreds of hours donated by our volunteers, through your generous donations and through the sale of merchandise.


     501(c)(3) nonprofit, all volunteer organization  




Our mission:  

We 'educate, advocate, and participate' for the long term recovery and preservation of wolves based on the best available science and the principles of democracy.  We:  

  1. Educate the public about the important role that wolves play in maintaining healthy ecosystems
  2. Inform the public about challenges to wolf recovery
  3. Support measures that promote peaceful coexistence with wolves on the landscape
  4. Educate the public about the issues in all regions and ways it can effectively participate in the democratic process to promote science-based decision-making about wolves.

All donations, no matter the amount, will be appreciated because they will enable us to: 

  • Provide educational programs, materials and events
  • Participate in conferences, seminars, and consultation with other professionals in the fields of wolf biology, research, conservation, eco-tourism and environmental law.
  • Secure a Wolfwatcher Legal Fund to sustain potential engagement in litigation that challenges local, state and/or federal policies that affect wolf preservation.

To donate online, please click on the Donate button at the top. To donate by check or money order,  please send your donation to our business office at: National Wolfwatcher Coalition, PO Box 161281, Duluth, MN   55816-1281