Shot Dead: Yellowstone’s Most Famous Wolf

Yellowstone’s most famous grey wolf, beloved by tourists and researchers alike, was shot and killed by a hunter last Thursday just outside of the park’s boundary in Montana.

The murder is considered legal, since it occurred outside Yellowstone National Park.

The female wolf was a popular attraction for many visitors and was heavily studied by researchers who follow the migratory patterns of these animals in the area.

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.

Sadly, I am not surprised. The battle of ranchers and hunters versus environmentalists has been raging for years. Hunters consider hunting, which is perfectly legal in the northern Rockies, a legitimate way to reduce predators to livestock. But anti-hunt campaigners argue that population numbers are not large enough to support the practice and that the animals bring in tourists to the region. Not to mention, the northern Rockies are the natural habitat of these wolves.

The battle kicked into high gear in the mid-1990s, soon after the federal government reintroduced the species to Yellowstone National Park. Ranchers and hunters started complaining that wolves were taking an unacceptable toll on cattle and wildlife

Perhaps as a result, federal officials earlier this year announced plans to eliminate vital protections for wolves in Wyoming, leaving these iconic animals at the mercy of a shoot-on-sight state policy that covers nearly 90 percent of the state. The Endangered Species Act protections for the wolves disappeared on August 31, leading to the possibility of a mass slaughter of these magnificent creatures.

Though not surprised, I am angry, as are many of the researchers at Yellowstone National Park who are furious that over the last few weeks, eight wolves that had been fitted with $4,000 GPS collars have been killed just after leaving the park’s boundary.

From The New York Times:

The deaths have dismayed scientists who track wolves to study their habits, population spread and threats to their survival.

“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.

Wolves are special to Yellowstone. I have spent several wonderful vacations in America’s first National Park, but I remember especially one July morning, when I rose at 5 am to hike in the Lamar Valley. Just a few minutes after I started out alone in the mist, I felt some eyes on me and turned to see a grey wolf peering at me from across a meadow. We exchanged glances for a second, and then this shy creature bounded away, but I felt my day had been blessed.

The loss of 832F is a tragedy.


Related Care2 Coverage

Death Sentence Issued For Entire Pack Of Endangered Wolves

Wolves Will Be Shot On Sight In Wyoming

Western States Killing Wolves By The Hundreds


Photo Credit: thinkstock

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Diane L.
Diane L.1 years ago

Whoops, "indiscriminate"............sorry for the typo.

Diane L.
Diane L.1 years ago

Anita, I am sorry about your issues, but this article is about the shooting of a wolf in Yellowstone National Park, not about the indiscrimate killing of 4 captive lions in the Copenhagen Zoo. I, nor anyone else who resides in the U.S. except for the hunter that shot that wolf was responsible for that, anymore than you are responsible for the zookeepers in the zoo where you live.

Please take your comments to a more appropriate "thread", the one about the zoo, please?

Anita B.
Anita B.1 years ago

Just as i read that my Cities Zoo "Copenhagen" Again had killed healty animals = This time 4 lions, i was told by a angry US Citizen, that i was just as bad, for not show up in the zoo and do something to stop it, i was in a chock all day. And still are shaken. I´m a former vet-nurse, i had that job for 29years and 5months and didn´t stay away 1 day in all those years, before i got a blood clut in my brain which paralyzed me, i haven´t been outside my Apartment more than 3 times for the last 3years, once was when my mom died and the second time was when she was buried in 2012 and last time in january because i had to go to a dr at the hospita, because the was afraid i hade got one more blood clut. But still after all i´ve done for ppl.and animals since i was 3years old, i must read and accept such horrible mails from a person WHO "i could say, should have stopped that heartless Hunters bullet which killed The beloved and so famous Wolf. I startedhere to try to do some thing even that i cant walk out my door, instead i get hate mails. I live alone and only got my dogs, so have it been for over 10years, and when i once get a selden mail, it´s a hate mail.
Sorry but that´s more than i can take.

I would have helped all i could, but now im not in mode to live at all. and if i cant help myself i cant help others. So i take a brake after only 5days. Im truelly sorry.

Rosemary Lowe

Alexander O. your comments are great: All hunters are cowards. Some now are using the term "animal serial killers" to describe what hunters are all about. I think a "fair" hunt would be an unarmed hunter put in an enclosure with some hungry grizzly. Sounds fair to me.

Diane L.
Diane L.2 years ago

"Hunters are cowards, always armed and hiding away from the other animal that would shred them in any real, fair situation".............Ummmm, and Alexander, predators such as lions and tigers that hunt to survive are also "cowards" by your definition, since they are armed with lethal teeth and claws, and they hide from their prey until the last moment when they "spring" and attack. I'm not an advocate of sport hunting by any means, but seriously, Alexander, please at least try to discuss a topic with a bit of logic and reason. Hard to "hunt" game for any purpose when unarmed and walking towards the objective out in plain sight!

Alexander O.
Alexander O.2 years ago

Hunters are cowards, always armed and hiding away from the other animal that would shred them in any real, fair situation. I'm pretty sure there was no real reason to kill them for being just outside the park boundaries, and as the previous person said; for that many to be exploring beyond is probably due to hunters baiting them out.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin2 years ago

I have a feeling those hunters use some sort of bait to get the wolves to leave the park. When so many as 8 wolves have been killed in just a few weeks and just when leaving the park's boundaries. It sounds a bit too much to be a coincident. Needs investigating by someone not tied to hunters and ranchers.

Suki Landry
Suki Landry2 years ago

My God,
This is just horrible! This should have never have happened in the first place. Yellowstone should be a reserve & all the wolves there should be protected & any one caught killing them should be punished. I'm tired of these careless hunters killing innocent animals as a sport & then justifying their actions afterwards. It makes me sick! Killing deer, etc is no longer a survival thing so you & your family could eat & not starve to death. It isn't like that any more. It is pure sport, often hanging your trophy on the walls for everyone to see! These wolves will be, if they aren't already, an endangered species.And for what? We should be protecting these beautiful animals any way we can & keep them safe from any kind of harm. Hopefully in 2013 new laws will be passed so their lives won't be threatened by careless hunters.

Alicia Guevara
Alicia Guevara2 years ago

So sad.

Sheri D.
Sheri D.2 years ago

Sad. Thanks for letting us know.