On December 6, Yellowstone Wolf 832, the 06 female of the Lamar Valley, was legally shot and killed outside of the park in Wyoming. Agh!!
Like many of you, we are deeply saddened by this loss. 06 was easily the most popular wolf in Yellowstone and during her 6+ year tenure in the park delighted throngs of Yellowstone visitors who were fortunate enough to see her. She was the leader of the Lamar Canyon Pack in Lamar Valley where she was perhaps one of the most viewed wolves of all time. With just over 3 million visitors to Yellowstone each year, many of which come to view wolves and other wildlife, it is not unlikely that she had been observed by over a million people in her lifetime.
832 taught so many of us what it was to be a wolf. She was wise in her defense of pack and territory. She was fearless in her often solo attempts to kill prey for her pack to eat. She was tireless in her provisioning of the pups. Overall, she was innovative and persistent in every attempt to survive and remain part of Yellowstone’s landscape. While we had many, many wonderful encounters with 06 through the years, there were those who knew her even better and so we leave further eulogizing of this undisputed leader of the pack to them. We can say that she was an extraordinary individual.
Park officials noted that she was killed about 16 miles east of the park in the Clark’s Fork drainage of northwest Wyoming in a similar area to where her pack mate 754, a large adult male, was killed by a hunter several weeks ago. She was the 8th wolf to be taken in an area with a quota of 8 set by Wyoming Game and Fish, and thus the area where she was taken is now closed to further wolf hunting. At least we don’t have to beg the agency to close the area, but…
With this event, we continue to be frustrated with the lack of heed paid to the Yellowstone wildlife watching community by the state agencies planning these boundary hunts. We have been pushing Montana to close its boundary hunt along Yellowstone’s north side where 3 radio-collared wolves have been taken this fall. The total of Yellowstone’s wolves that have been taken by sport hunting in adjacent states is now estimated at 7, plus possibly more that are unconfirmed. Additionally, some insightful wolf studies that park and university scientists have diligently pursued have been derailed by these losses.
We hope the loss of 06 will not be in vein, and the outcry will change the ill-conceived wolf management of the states around Yellowstone. They must begin to recognize the sensitivity of the issues surrounding Yellowstone's wildlife and the unique relationship our community has with them.
In reference to the latest tragedy, please contact the Wyoming state officials below to express your sadness and anger. Consider telling them, (1) to end the boundary hunt areas by creating permanent no hunt buffer zones around Yellowstone, and (2) reduce overall quotas in the units around the national parks next year. Please consider copying the same letter to each of the five contacts below:
1. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead: http://governor.wy.gov/contactUs/Pages/default.aspx
307.777.7434 (phone) 307.632.3909 (fax)
2. Wyoming Game & Fish Commission, contact: Sheri Todd, email@example.com, 307-777-4632
3. Wyoming Office of Tourism: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wyoming Game & Fish Department (WGFD) Headquarters
5400 Bishop Blvd. Cheyenne, WY 82006
ph: (307) 777-4600
4. WGFD Director, Scott Talbott: Scott.Talbott@wyo.gov
5. WGFD’s Large Carnivore Section Supervisor Mark Bruscino: Mark.Bruscino@wyo.gov
Cynthia Lummis: Lummisnews@mail.house.gov
Dan Dockstader state rep: email@example.com
Senator Enzi: Reagen_Bebout@enzi.senate.gov
Senator Barrasso: Sandy_DaRif@Barrasso.senate.gov
Pat Aullman Pat.Aullman@mail.house.gov
Marti Halverson State rep elect. firstname.lastname@example.org
John Boehner, Speaker of the House SpeakerBoehner@nrccmail.org
Governor Matt Mead's Wife (Wyoming Governor) email@example.com
Newspaper contacts: http://governor.wy.gov/contactus/Pages/ContactEditors.aspx
Reported by Nathan Varley and Linda Thurston of The Wild Side, Tours and Treks, the Yellowstone wolf watching specialists.
Thanks to Dave Hornoff, Ilona Popper, and Howard Jones for contributions.