News is just coming out about the killing of several wolves who belong to packs with territories in Yellowstone National Park. While these wolves were shot outside the park boundaries and the kills technically legal, the likelihood that some were lured out of the park so they could be targeted is real. When management plans for Rocky Mountain wolves were approved by the USFWS, great concern was relayed to state and federal authorities that luring techniques should be banned because of the potential to disturb packs that have protection on federal lands. These pleas were ignored and, as a result, the predictions foretold seem to have come to pass. The negative effects these killings will have on the packs is enormous and the setbacks to ongoing research palpable.
Here are some of the wolves that were lost:
Late October: Wolf #824M of the Mollie pack
Early November: #829F of the Blacktail Plateau
November 10: #754M, Beta male of the Lamar Canyon pack killed in WY
November 13: 823F, the only collared wolf in the newly formed Junction Butte pack, killed in MT
Time unknown: Alpha Pair #762 and #763 of the Madison Pack (they have been in and out of YNP recently); status of the rest of the pack is not yet known.
793 of the Snake River pack just south of YNP killed in WY
There are several actions out there addressing the concerns for Rocky Mountain wolves, wolves in the lower 48, current legislation that threatens wildlife while granting special privileges to “sportsmen”, and the removal of Ken Salazar (a rancher with a reputation for addressing ranching concerns over wildlife) as head of the Department of Interior. Here are links to the petitions and further information. It’s time to end the political forces and special interests who have controlled wildlife management and the status of wolves for far too long. There is a bi-partisan effort targeting wildland and wildlife protections as of late so this is not a matter of party affiliation but the influence of a tiny minority of citizens who take full advantage of federal programs at taxpayer expense and their influence over policy. Sound science must be the only determination in establishing wildlife and wildland policy.
** Thanks to Wolves of the Rockies for details on the current wolf losses.