Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone study collects, examines wolf scat for clues

July 28, 2009, 7:43 am

Joking that she felt like Santa Claus, Bonnie Trejo held the nearly full white trash bag aloft and uttered a subdued "woo hoo!"

Her trek into the wilds of Yellowstone National Park to collect wolf scat from the Druid pack's den site on Friday had reaped plenty of samples, each in its own smaller bag within the trash bag.

"I'm not going to have a problem with sample size," she said to her crew of four helpers.

Trejo, 34, is conducting a study for her doctoral thesis at Humboldt State University that examines the diet of the park's wolves. One way to do that is by collecting and later examining wolf scat in the laboratory.

"Food habits are really important," she said. "It's directly tied to the health of wolves. It affects reproduction, community dynamics, how their diets overlap, seasonal fluctuations and prey composition."