Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Death of a Yellowstone Wolf


A wolf with a radio collar wandered out of Yellowstone National Park and sadly was immediately shot by a hunter. It wasn't just any wolf, but the Alpha Female of a famous wolf pack which had been studied by scientists for many years. This is just devastating for the ecosystem.

Who was the hunter? No one knows, but clearly he was just aching to kill a wolf. More's the pity. It amazes me that the same people who would sue for a million dollars if someone shot their domesticated horse or dog don't give a crap about an irreplaceable wolf who is a treasure to our country and really belongs to us all.

So many wolves have been murdered this year - yes, wantonly murdered - that Montana just this morning cancelled their wolf season in certain areas, from the Laramie News:
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission chairman Bob Ream said commissioners were addressing only "the particular and unique situation" of collared wolves being shot.

"It seems to be kind of a compromise," Ream said. "Is it political? Yeah, wolves are political."

. . . Park officials say at least seven Yellowstone wolves _ including five wearing tracking collars _ were shot in recent weeks by hunters in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Also shot were four collared wolves originally from the park but now living outside it. Three more shot in the vicinity of the park had unknown origins and were not wearing collars, park officials said.

Saturday marks the opening day of Montana's first wolf trapping season since the animals lost federal protections last year.

From the New York Times:
The wolf, known as 832F to researchers, was the alpha female of the park’s highly visible Lamar Canyon pack and had become so well known that some wildlife watchers referred to her as a “rock star.” The animal had been a tourist favorite for most of the past six years.

The wolf was fitted with a $4,000 collar with GPS tracking technology, which is being returned, said Daniel Stahler, a project director for Yellowstone’s wolf program. Based on data from the wolf’s collar, researchers knew that her pack rarely ventured outside the park, and then only for brief periods, Dr. Stahler said.

This year’s hunting season in the northern Rockies has been especially controversial because of the high numbers of popular wolves and wolves fitted with research collars that have been killed just outside Yellowstone in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

. . . “She is the most famous wolf in the world,” said Jimmy Jones, a wildlife photographer who lives in Los Angeles and whose portrait of 832F appears in the current issue of the magazine American Scientist.

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