BILLINGS — For the first time in 24 years, Yellowstone National Park wildlife managers have found no evidence wolves killing each other.
The Billings Gazette reports that the park’s annual report on wolves says seven wolf deaths were recorded 2018, but none were wolf-on-wolf deaths and none died from major diseases. Three wolves were shot by hunters outside the park.
At the end of 2018 there were at least 80 wolves in nine packs with seven breeding pairs in Yellowstone. That’s down from the previous five years and the lowest number of wolves since 2012.
But officials say those lower wolf numbers may help explain why there were fewer pack conflicts over territory, as well as no transmission of disease–both of which are more likely when populations are denser.