The last of the so-called Magic Pack of wolves has left Glacier National Park and moved back into Canada. But researchers say that doesn't mean efforts to restore the animals to Glacier have failed.
The Camas Pack, the remaining splinter group of the famed Magic Pack, left the park earlier this spring and returned to a previously used den site in British Columbia, said Cliff Martinka, chief biologist for Glacier National Park.But researchers said the departure doesn't affect the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan yet.
"The wolves have continued to range both north and south of the border," said Kemper McMaster, field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Montana-Wyoming field office in Helena.
"It would be a supposition on anyone's part to say they are going to remain on one side or the other. It's just as likely they will move south of the border again next year.
"We simply don't know," he told the Kalispell (ont.) Daily Inter Lake. "If they don't ever come down and no other wolves ever do, it would certainly affect the plan. But one year will not set us back."
The Magic Pack wandered into Montana from British Columbia in 1985 and successfully denned in Glacier National Park in 1986.
After the denning, part of the pack moved back into the Flathead River drainage of British Columbia and the remaining pack became known as the Camas Pack. The Camas Pack again successfully denned inside park boundaries in 1987.
The pack, along with three other British Columbia packs in the same drainage, are the foundation of the recovery plan.
It sets a goal of 10 breeding pairs of wolves in each of three recovery areas - northwest Montana, central Idaho and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem - in an attempt to get the animal off the endangered species list.