Banff wolf pack’s numbers have gone from eleven to two in a single year

A wolf in the woods, captured on a remote camera

It’s been a rough year for a wolf pack in Banff National Park. The pack, located in Bow Valley, had eleven members just last year, but as of this March, their numbers had gone down to just two.

There were various reasons for the decline. Some of the wolves were put down when they became conditioned to eating at campgrounds, and one in particular was deemed to be dangerous after she confronted people in order to get at their cooler. Other members of the pack were hit by trains, and their remaining numbers went from three to two in March when a male wolf left the pack and was shot by a hunter.

Despite the pack’s huge drop in numbers, wildlife specialists say all hope isn’t lost for them. “Wolf populations are very dynamic,” Steve Michel of Parks Canada told the CBC. “The size of the pack is constantly changing; just as we talk about this wolf dispersing, there’s other wolves from other packs in other areas that are dispersing that might come and join in to the Bow Valley pack as well.”

Another Parks Canada representative told Global News that wolves have a high reproductive potential, and since they can give birth to a litter of five or six pups, the pack’s numbers could be replenished quite quickly. “It’s possible the breeding male that remains has already found a female.”

Parks Canada is monitoring the pack with GPS and cameras and will be watching to see if it makes a recovery. Michel told the CBC that Banff National Park’s wolf population is healthy.