In the Valley of the Wolves
The Druid Wolf Pack Story

The original five members of the Druid Peak pack — #38 and #39, the alpha male and female, and female pups #40, #41, and #42 — were captured near Fort St. John in British Columbia and relocated to Yellowstone’s acclimation pens before being released in April 1996 in the Park’s scenic Lamar Valley. The nearly treeless Lamar Valley is often considered Yellowstone’s most prized hunting grounds, and the most visible wolf territory in the Park.

On this public stage, the Druids displayed early signs of the upheaval and drama that would eventually come to characterize the group. During that first year in Yellowstone, a yearling male, #31, dispersed from the nearby Chief Joseph pack and joined the group, while alpha female #39 left the pack completely to become a lone wolf — perhaps driven off by #40, her own ruthless daughter, who began a terrible reign as the pack’s alpha female.

In 1997, pups were born to #41 and #42, the subordinate females, but none to the aggressive alpha female, #40. Lone wolf #39 reunited with the pack briefly, then left once again in November — this time with her daughter, #41 (who also may have been driven off by #40). The pack’s two males, #31 and #38 were shot and killed in December, setting the stage for the dominance of a new male, #21, dispersed from the Rose Creek Pack. By the end of 1998, the Lamar Valley Druids had seven members, and a growing reputation for conflict. The constant harassment of beta female #42 by her sister, #40, earned #42 the nickname “Cinderella” by the Yellowstone researchers. The put-upon Cinderella created a den and gave birth to pups in 1998, but none survived; the following year #40 attacked #42 in her den, and she again produced no offspring.


Casanova

Cinderella finally reached the ball in 2000, after a violent turn of events that put her at the head of the pack. She and the other female members of the pack, perhaps tired of #40’s iron-pawed leadership, turned on the alpha female, and killed her. At least three litters were born to the liberated females; 20 of the 21 survived. The Druids, 27 strong, became the largest pack in Yellowstone. In 2001, another 10 pups were added to the group, and the 37-member Druid pack became perhaps the largest wolf pack ever documented.

Like all dynasties, however, the Druids were destined for a fall. In 2002, the massive pack reached critical mass, and splintered. Three new packs, the Agate Creek, Geode Creek, and Slough Creek packs, were created, each anchored by a former Druid female born at the same den in Lamar Valley in 1997. The Druids were left with 11 members by 2002’s end, including the matriarch, Cinderella, and the long-time alpha male, #21. The pack expanded to 17 members by the end of 2003, aided by the arrival of a lone black male, #302, formerly of the Leopold pack. #302 may have fathered all of the pups not born to the alpha female. To wolf researchers, he was “Casanova” — a lover, not a fighter, who wooed the females in the group while staying appropriately submissive to alpha male, #21.

In 2004, the Druids once again suffered terrible losses; longtime alpha female #42 was killed by members of a rival pack, and the aging patriarch was found dead in the summer. At the same time, however, the neighboring Slough Creek pack began to spend more time on the northwestern boundary of Druid territory. Their incursions into Druid turf culminated in a decisive battle in 2005 that ousted the formerly dominant Druid wolves from the Lamar Valley. Two adult female Druids died that year — one killed by the Sloughs — and no pups survived. The pack was reduced to just four members, and looked to be nearing its end.

In true soap opera fashion, however, the Druids’ epic tale does not conclude with their exile. In 2006, from their new location in an area called Cache Creek, aided by Casanova and #480, the new alpha male, the pack began to rebuild. Both of the pack’s adult females successfully bred, producing eight surviving pups. The Druids pushed back against the Slough Creek pack — which suffered its own losses earlier in the year after a run-in with an unknown pack from the north — and reclaimed their traditional territory in the Soda Butte and Lamar Valleys; six pups were born there in 2007. The Druids, for now, are home.

  • Jesús Hernández

    One of the best TV programs about nature that I had ever seen. Congratulations!!!

  • George O’Brien

    Simply remarkable. Beauty, tragedy and deep emotion , as a wolfpack holds a mirror up to ourselves. Wow.

  • roxy

    I’m really interested in the Druid wolf pack and I’ve been doing a lot of research but i cant find that much information.. does anyone know where i can find individual photos of the wolves in the pack or more sites about the druid wolf pack? And btw this site is great, great story on the wolves..

    Love Roxy, 13, skegness.

  • Ms. Kir

    Terrific program!

    Please keep such wonderful, entertaining and educational shows coming. People need to be educated in order to want to preserve all Nature.

    I have a question. Why are the collared wolves only given numbers instead of names? While I don’t want to anthropomorphize the wolves, names would be so much more appropriate, starting with “Casanova” and his mate.

    Thanks again.

    Ms. Kir

  • http://www.DobermanTalk.com/non-doberman-animal-talk/13743-good-news-wolves-now.html#post212723 Good news for wolves for now! – Doberman Talk Forums

    [...] story. I looked this up to find out the rest of the story and thought some of you might enjoy it. Nature . In the Valley of the Wolves – The Druid Wolf Pack Story | PBS __________________ All dogs deserve a good home http:www.dogfoodanalysis.com [...]

  • Emily

    This is a great story. like George said, wolves hold mirrors up to us, and we see how similar we are. I play a game called WolfQuest, and because I’m a nub and don’t know how to post a link, go to WolfQuest.org, an awesome free downloadable game featuring the wolves of northern Yellowstone, including the Druid Peak Pack.

    ______________________________________________________

    “It is not our differences that divide us; it is our innability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

  • Gail H

    Great show- I hope they contiue to follow the Druids & others.
    Who were the 12 nothern wolves?

  • Joan

    I have followed the reintroduction since 1995 and my greatest wish is to see these wolves in the wild someday. There are some really good books out there about thse wolves: Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone, The Yellowstone Wolves and Decade of the Wolf.

  • Rahab Klingensmith

    If I’m not mistaken, I remember following the story of “the Druids” way back when their first making of introducing protection to the YellowStone area and its observances…I believe there was as well a problem with them alienating one of its pack members-a female, who was of higher stature…unless I’m thinking of another wolf pack? But doubtful….I followed them closely….I did. But, I do believe it was this one, the female….they had fought her almost unto her death….and another territorial fight which almost ended in the fridged waters of Lake Superior–probable this is what saved her life…..and than, days later, “a loner – wolf male” came to lick-her-wounds, finding his love at last; a mate….and probable ending success it was…thankful the male came to contend with her severity of wounds from Druid Pack, her former family-almost in a death, she was….but, made it I think! Interesting, and lovely……now hopefulI am Palins plans to fall face forward….better yet, if she falls out her side profile of her rediculous event of ecko-cause of nonsense-really. She is a raven-jealous species of the natural life, and its Beauty…”Rahab” The Wolf……

    one of the greatest of God’s Creational existences….The Druid Pack~I am hopeful still exists….and has a full membered family still…

  • Sue Florin

    We have no commentary, just music, “In the Valley of the Wolves”. I have visited Yellowstone may times, so the wolves’ behavior is not upsetting to me, but may be upsetting to other viewers who do not understand. Please provide a narrative commentary! We are listening to Wisconsin public TV.

  • pcw

    Rahab-nice writing. Very interesting.

  • Ryan Murray

    Great program it really stirs the soul!!!! In 2001 I worked about 40 miles from Fort St.John British Columbia and saw a wolf pack for the first time we often heard them calling and howling. I could not resist joining in the calling myself and howled with the wolves. Its very special to know I was howling with family of the Druids. By the way nothing makes the hair on your neck stand up like the lonesome calls of wolves.

  • Karen Bartelt

    I was in Yellowstone and the Lamar Valley a few days ago watching wolves with the Yellowstone Association. We saw the Druid pack just after they had made a kill. I believe they number 13 now, and are doing well. Wolf 302 – the Casanova – is now almost 9 years old and has left the Druids with his own small pack of about 4 other wolves. We saw him as well, and he looked good for a “senior wolf”. It was great to come back and see this on PBS.

  • Jerry Colbruno

    I love these magnificent animals and have two wolfdogs that are my pride and joy and have constant visitors that are just fasinated by them.People need to get over the ‘big bad wolf’ stories which are totaly false and learn the truth about them.

  • Aaron

    Rahab Klingensmith, i do a lot of research and have read a ton of stories, and i think that story of the female wolf was on Isle Royale in Lake Superior of Michigan. I remember something about a female being attacked by Middle Pack and left for dead, and then a male also from Middle Pack came back to nurture her, then they started a pack of there own, the Chippewa Harbor Pack. Here is the link http://www.isleroyalewolf.org/overview/overview/wolves.html it should be in the middle somewhere.

    And Emily, you can post links by right clicking on the page you want the link of, click [View Page Info] then a separate window should appear, then copy the address that it shows and past it where you want it.

  • Kat

    I love wolves! So naturally I loved this episode. The Druids are like my family, faced with hardship that could break them apart, but they come together stronger than ever. I love the casanova. He’s soooo purty. but i like the Sloghs too, cuz theyre even purtier.

  • chris

    loved the show but i think if i was the phtographer i would have tried to stop the wolves from tearing apart the coyote sad but thats life.

  • Sweety

    about the druids story i thought that wa great wiill there be more

  • thomas ormiston

    I think I might change my name to Cass.Druid pack,Yellowstone(if only i could)

  • Paul

    Chris, trying to stop the wolves from killing a coyote would be as bad as killing the wolves. It’s nature, it’s life. Wolves are killing machines that pare down the sick, weak & old & allow for a much healthier ecosystem.

  • Karen A

    I have been donating to the NRDC for wolf protection and now that I’ve watched this program and understand wolves more I’m so glad I have. This is the best use of TV I’ve seen in a long time, please continue. Your photography is gorgeous and the continuous story of the packs is fascinating.

  • dmcinty

    What a beautiful story! Trimuphant!

  • Ceilidh

    Chris,
    I agree that’s a hard scene to watch, but it is how it works out there and frankly, that coyote should have known better. The silver lining is that his mate survives and has pups the following spring (although if we think about Darwin’s idea, perhaps those genes shouldn’t have been passed along!) ; – ) Have seen the Druids, taken pictures of 21 and 42 with my own camera (they were easy to spot even from a distance because of their unique markings, specifically his white face.) and have heard wild wolves howling right outside my campsite in Lolo National Forest. A wonderful national treasure that we need to protect.

  • John Peppel

    I have seen documentaries on the Druid pack and I feel more documentaries should be shown and show viewers more documentaries to further help conservation of animals and to get a further understanding of wolves and not just wolves all animals of the world today.

  • Travis Rinas

    We had a large Black Male with radio collar last year living near us. We would see him almost daily. He wasn’t from our local packs and we were told he had made his way up from Yellowstone. The local biologists had very little info on this wolf because he was not in their data base. Where would I find more info on Yellowstone wolves and any other wolves from there to the Flathead area?

  • Dave Agnello

    I just watched the story of all the different wolf packs on PBS and what a fascinating program it is. The history of the Druids, the Sloughs and all of the others were very compelling. Great videography of every aspect of their creation and lives including mating, hunting, migrating and struggling to protect their territories. I visited Yellowstone last year and only saw one wolf, but regretablly did not get a chance to venture to areas where they would be more visible. Great job to all who contributed to that special and those that devote their lives to chronicle and protect the lives of the wolves.

  • Nina

    Gosh this is a great show/documentary. I’m writing a fictional story on the Hayden Pack and this will be a good part of it.

  • Keith Fahey

    Wow, I kept saying. Thank you so much for the patience and funding that helped bring such a story to the world. Wow.

  • Leif

    This is an incredible story of family, clan and space. We are all tied to those aspects of life and form relationships with them in similar ways.The portrayal of these wolves really shows the basic elements of life that all animals share in common. These wolves almost seem to have a basic ‘humanity’ about them, in the sense that we use that word to describe ourselves. This is a beautiful piece on nature and the wolves are amazing animals. Very well done. Bravo!

  • Wilycat

    Wolves are awesome! :D I want to be a druid wolf now! Seriously!

  • Michelle

    The story of the Druids is simply amazing and the photography is second to none. It by far the best piece on wolfs I have ever seen and will recommend it to everyone I know. Wolfs are truly beautiful animals (and if you did not already know this, watching the program will show the public how perfect they are). THANK YOU so much for bringing this story to such a wide range of people and keeping us so informed about how nature works at its very best!

  • bernadette brickley

    Wait ago Casanova.

  • Scott A.

    One the best documentaries EVER!!! I love wolves and how they live. Awesome story!

  • veiwer

    I just love wolves and I have seen a lot of the Druids on this show and others from back in the day. Good show save wolves !!

  • Steve Haines

    When Casanova appeared, for the first time in her life, my cat Lilly jumped onto the television stand and rubbed herself up against the T.V. She sniffed at the nose of Casanova (#302), and moved everywhere he did. When Casanova was being moved on by the pack, Lilly growled.

    Just a house cat. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.

  • Ray

    In the TV documentary, it is implied that Casanova (#302) was the new alpha male of the Druids. But in this article it is stated that #480 is the new alpha male. Which one is it?

    An amazing documentary nonetheless. Just saw it a couple of days ago and it is my favorite wildlife documentary I’ve seen so far. I love the narration, especially when Casanova appears for the first time. This documentary keeps you fully engaged for the entire duration.

  • kate

    I thick you should make an un date on the yellow stone wolves. I find it very interesting and would love to know what is going on in todays life yellow stone. I like seeing the Druids and want to know more about the wolve pack it self. I find it amazing how they come back after such a down fall.

  • Daysha

    I love wolfs!:-)I played wolf quest and it is soooooo fun you can play at Slough Creek and Amithist Mt. at Slough Creek you get to raise pups and you can live the life of a wolf.;-)but it dont have night afternoon or night or the four seasons.:-(p.s.you should have put more wall papers for us and put games

  • Daysha

    Chris i feel bad about the wolfs killng the male coyote but i love all animals but it is life and i would stop them too if i was the photographer.But i love it when the red fox done the snow dive:-) btw go to wolfquest.org and download it like i said it is life

  • Daysha

    p.s. Chris i feel sorry for the female coyote

  • Miss P

    Thank you, PBS for sharing this story of the Druids. I never fully realized how beautiful wolves were, even though I had done some minor research with them, until I saw how you captured their eyes on film. Beautiful.

  • dk bell

    I live in Florida, and love all nature and the story of the Druids and the other wolf packs were wonderful. Question. Am I the only one who wondered about those twelve wolves from the north and why they came and why they left after some hours? It was almost like they came to rid the wolf packs – community – of the Parvo that was killing the wolf cubs in the Slough Pack.
    Parvo is infection that sickens puppie and pups, right?

  • Daysha

    Emily where is the Druid Peek Pack??

  • Larry

    A classic story of conquest and rebirth of a wolf nation. The story is narrated excellently and the scenery is spectacular. I hope someday to visit Yellowstone and see first hand the wolves of Yellowstone along with the other wildlife possibly in the winter.

  • David

    Too bad the today the Druid wolfpack is down to one lone female wolf who is on her last leg. Latest news is she is dying and losing hair. Disease and the constant raids from other packs have dessimated her pack and the legacy is now at near an end for the most celebrated and well known wolfpack in history. Sad ending to a beuatiful story, but that is the circle of life and the beauty of nature.

  • Sharon M

    I am following the story of the Druid Wolf Pack of Yellowstone National Park. Its so sad that there may be 1 wolf left 690F. Can the people who keep track of the wolves intervene and capture her and try to nurse her back to health?
    And if she survies return her back to Lamar Valley. Hate to see her die & the Druid Pack disappear, since it’s the longest pack of wolves studied. I am so captivated by these beautiful animals.

  • Anthony

    What wolfe pack holds Lamar Valley now?

  • big al

    The pack has been largely slaughtered by trigger happy hunters in Montana and Idaho. Save them by contacting your federal representative and ask him or her to place the wolf back on the endangered list. Ryan Counts of Pray, Montana killed the top female wolf, 527, even though she was wearing a radio collar. They are killing them in Alaska by using aircraft. Boycott these states.

  • Tarria

    Hey I love wolves. I think that if I were a Wolf I would want to be a Druid…yeah I think it would be alot of fun I would feel like a genie!!! Ok that’s all for now I love you people to death thank you thanks you very much Tarria has left the building!!
    Love WOLVES HELL YES!!!

  • Daysha

    nvm emily i found out where the druids are on wolf quest they are in “Soda Vista Butte” its a long trip to get there if you walk and if you run, its not so long

  • Daysha

    i went to all the territorys, but i still could not find a disapearal wolf (sorry if i spelt disappearal wrong)

  • reality

    wow, there goes family orientated! Looks like wolves don’t think twice on incest, off-n your sister, and getting pregnant by the neighbor boy.

  • Catherine

    Wolves have always fascinated me- and if humans would stop interfering where they don’t belong.. I have the DVD of the original relocation of Wolves to Yellowstone in 1995-it is an extraordinary story with footage that is second to none- I wanted some follow up footage so I bought the the PBS-Nature “In the Valley of the Wolves”- F. Murray Abraham- as always- does an amazing job narrating this epic tale. I do my follow up research using sites with info furnished either by US FWS or Yellowstone Researchers- The most important thing I learned- as in so many other places humans have managed to destroy- Yellowstone belongs to the animals -particularly in the winter- and people need to stay out of the way- and let nature run the way it was meant to. Oh- The PBS Nature dvd “Christmas in Yellowstone” is also a very beautiful story

  • AndrewR

    Just watched this film, aired by our local-area tv (5TV, Russian Federation, Saint-Petersburg). Very good video (scenes), and i hope decent translation (at least i like it). Probably, most important idea stuck in my head right now – how much energy wild animals actually need for all their activity, especially in winter, how much various external factors may influence their survival (and those factors sometimes hard to predict). And after reading this webpage …i can only say we living in very disproportional world, where we , humans, can enjoy intercontinental communication, nearly ‘free’ meals/heating (at the expense of burning fuels, at very high rate), i can find information with just few keystrokes but changing human’s inhumane, illogical behaviour sometimes seems to be impossible task :(

  • Alicia

    When wolves fight for dominance over a pack, would only the leaders fight against their opponents, or would the whole pack fight too?

    Also, in my story four wolves are fighting: two leaders and two other wolves. Would two wolves fight each other, see who wins, then the other two wolves fight? Or would they fight at the same time?

  • ally

    when the wolves go away for summer and spring where do they go i was thinking just out of Yellowstone but i wasnt sure

  • Sinthija
  • savannah

    wonderful

  • Joseph

    I saw your show on the Druid Wolves of Yellowstone. It is an excellent video on the wolves. My question is … Now that the Druids have all but perished from the Yellowstone park, what will become of their territory …. mostly the Lamar valley? Are there plans to re-introduce another pack into the Druid territory or will that territory be taken over by another pack.

    Will there be NO attempt at all to re-introduce another wolf pack to the old Druid wolves territory? I sure hope so…. they are beautiful animals. I hope they survive in the park.

  • Angel

    Oh I just love wolves. Their drama is just like ours. I like animals better than human, no offense to anyone. They’re just too amazing.

  • Bob10

    I realy like the Druid pack it’s so sad that there arn’t much wolves left

  • clair

    im so moved by druid packs story

  • George

    Just watched the show….epic. It was so good. To see these wolves and how they live their lives, just makes you think…its crazy all the things that are going on around you and you don’t even think about….great story, tragedy, happiness, sadness its got everything…i would watch something like this over some stupid hollywood flick any day

  • Diane

    Watched most last night, but had to turn off when the narrator said the male coyote’s move around the Slough Creek wolves would be disastrous. Normally am not like that. Very compelling story.

  • Krystal

    Daysha. you have to scare off a wolf in each territory then look for a wolf for your mate ;D hope it helped

  • gerry

    the druid pack story was great – ya gotta hand it to the male coyote for giving his life for the survival of his mate, a real trooper…that was pretty hard to watch him be attacked

  • Aly

    I have a question. Did the daughter of the old male alpha mate with casanova? If not, who did he mate with again?

  • sarah

    I love wolves beautiful animals. You ever think a wolf could be an inhuman wolf like different than a regular wolf more power more speed?

  • steve boyett

    @reality said wow, there goes family orientated! Looks like wolves don’t think twice on incest, off-n your sister, and getting pregnant by the neighbor boy.

    Neither did Noah’s daughters, bud. (and it’s “oriented”)

  • Rodger Dalton

    What about the thousands of Elk that have had their herds decimated by these animals? It wont be long and the Rocky mountain elk will be on the endangered species list. Time to remove wolves from the list and start hunting them again.

  • GreenGirl

    Rodger,
    Actually, if we left all the wild animals alone, nature will balance itself out.. the problem is that outside of protected areas Humans do what they will without regard for anything else..
    Wolves will hunt and bury food in snow for future dates {yes i think they invented the refridgerator :) } and not kill indiscriminately.. but with human laws making them safe only in certain areas.. they outgrow their boundaries and have to hunt local populations to death.
    If states bordering Yellowstone would protect wolves, then the clans could split and disperse safely and hunt different species, in different locales, creating the kind of balance nature intended… stuck in one area they only have so much prey available.

  • GreenGirl

    **using Yellowstone as an example of course.. but this applies in almost any area, with almost any species**

  • dogboy

    Rodger

    The elk and the wolves have lived in the same areas for tens of thousands of years without either going extinct.

    The wolves keep the elk populations healthy and sustainable otherwise the elk themselves would eat and expand themselves to extinction.

    Greengirl is right, by expanding protected zones the balance of predator to prey will be maintained. As for wolves preying on farm animals….well maybe humans need to leave some space for other species rather than expanding to every corner of every wild habitat.

    We dont own the planet, we live on it with all the other plants and animals. The sooner we realize that our future depends on all living things having a place in it the better off we will be.

    Sharks tigers lions elephants rhino’s and all the assorted plantlife on this planet serve a purpose. Some will disappear through natural processes but we need to make sure those processes are not do to our greed and stupidity.

    If we are the most intelligent species on this planet we need to act like it and stop thinking we can play creator.

    The most intelligent person is the one who knows that he does not and never will know everything.

  • Balram Saud

    Wolves r awesome. I love them and the Yellowstone NP an others r providing a great habitat for them.

  • Simone

    I remember that I saw the Druid wolf pack in Lamar Valley last summer! Truly AMAZING! they were beautiful and I will never forget about it!

  • http://druids Jean

    When will you up date the druids story we loved watching and learning. We loved the story.

  • Frank Brauchle

    Last year , near the campsite where the hiker was killed by a bear, a black wolf came out of the brush to
    within in 12 to 15 ft of us. It looke d as if he had been running, as his tongue was hanging out and breathing hard. Needless to say we were stunned, and scared. The wolf just looked up as us, and slowly turned and
    walked off. There were, awed, shocked, and in need of a change of underwear. Do not remember seeing a collar on the wolf.
    That evening I spoke to a Ranger about the experince, and he said he knew this wolf, but I have since forgotten the number. Evidently this wolf does roam around by himself.
    I will never forget the event. One of the great events I ve had during my long life.

  • Kelsie Amber

    Better than most drama shows we have on tv!

  • http://None Jay

    Love the wolves

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