“We don’t know if any of them are related to her, although we are in the early stages of a new genetic study, so someday we might know,” Klauder said. “But whether they are or not, it’s likely that they benefited from her detailed knowledge of her territory.”
The biologists had an unusual opportunity with Riley, a wolf they knew since birth and one they saw often. Reading the necropsy report gave them even more appreciation for the silver wolf, said Bridget Borg, the Denali wolf biologist.
“While people who saw her, like you, limping along the road, might have felt a pang of pity for her, even though her injuries were severe, she proved that she was a resilient and tough wolf until the very end.”
Since the late 1970s, the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute has provided this column free in cooperation with the UAF research community. Ned Rozell is a science writer for the Geophysical Institute.