Wyoming wolf update, including Yellowstone Park, May 18 – May 22, 2009

Weekly report from the USFWS has details about the government killing of YNP wolf-

If you want the details from the government about the first control kill of a Yellowstone Park wolf, it is in this report, along with some other information.

Wolf reports, if any, now with delisting for Idaho and Montana are the responsibility of those states.

Here is the latest report. Ralph Maughan

– – – – – –


  • To:  Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, Colorado
  • From:  USFWS Wyoming Wolf Recovery Project Leader, Jackson, WY
  • Subject:  Status of Gray Wolf Management in Wyoming and the NRM
  • WYOMING WOLF WEEKLY- May 18 through May 22, 2009

Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . Weekly reports for Montana and Idaho are produced by those States and can be viewed on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Idaho Department of Fish and Game websites. All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose.  Please distribute as you see fit.


A radio collared wolf from the Yellowstone Delta Pack dispersed from the park some time in March 2009. The wolf had been captured and fitted with an Argos GPS collar this last winter. The young female wolf was recently located south of Lander, WY.


Yellowstone National Park

A wolf that had become habituated to people and chased bicyclists on more than one occasion was euthanized Tuesday morning by Yellowstone National Park staff along Fountain Flat Drive. The yearling male wolf from the Gibbon Meadow Pack was first sighted in the vicinity of Midway Geyser Basin in March 2009.  In recent weeks, the wolf had been frequently observed in Biscuit Basin and the Old Faithful developed areas in close proximity to park visitors.  The wolf had reportedly exhibited behaviors consistent with being conditioned to human food.The park reports there have been several incidents of unnatural behavior, including chasing bicyclists on at least three occasions, and one report involving a motorcyclist.  The park has also received reports of the wolf approaching people, as well as cars, which can best be described as panhandling–behavior consistent with a food conditioned animal.  The wolf’s repeat offenses clearly demonstrate a habituation to humans and human food, escalating the concern for human safety, according to the park.

  1. Hazing techniques are meant to negatively condition an animal and may include cracker shells, bean bag rounds or rubber bullets; all non-injurious deterrents.

The decision to remove the wolf from Yellowstone was made in consultation with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service.  This is the first time such a management action has occurred since wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone in 1995-1996.  Yellowstone National Park removed this wolf from the population in accordance with the park’s habituated wolf management plan.

“This wolf was clearly not behaving naturally, reducing our management options.  Human safety is important, so the difficult decision to remove the animal was made. Approaching wildlife, such as wolves, too closely can have detrimental results.  We encourage visitors to keep their distance from wildlife and to not feed them,” wolf project leader Doug Smith said.

The park warns of conditioning of wildlife, in particular bears and wolves, to groceries, garbage or intentional feeding. This usually results in habituation, making them a potential danger to people and consequently may result in their destruction. Additionally, people who approach within 100 yards of bears and wolves, and 25 yards of other wildlife, put themselves at risk of injury and increase the potential for habituation of these animals, the part warns. Visitors are reminded to keep food, garbage, barbecue grills, and other attractants stored inside or otherwise unavailable to wildlife.

The removal of this wolf is not considered to have a detrimental impact to the overall health and population of wild, free roaming wolves in Yellowstone.  The wolf population in Yellowstone National Park is currently estimated at 124 animals in 12 packs.  Pups that were born this year have not been counted and are not part of this estimate.

Correction in the 2008 USFWS Annual Report

While writing an article for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, reporter Echo Renner discovered 2 mistakes in the Wyoming livestock depredation section of the 2008 USFWS Annual Report. We appreciate her thorough review and we make the following corrections.

Annual Report:

“In 2008, wolves in WY were responsible for killing at least 67 livestock. Confirmed livestock depredations included 41 cattle (35 calves; 6 cows/yearlings) and 26 sheep. Thirteen additional probable sheep depredations and 3 injured cattle were reported.”

Correction: A total of 10 injured cattle were reported in 2008. In March 2008, the Delta Pack from Yellowstone National Park left the park and injured 6 cows and 1 bull in the East Fork of Rock Creek the South Fork of the Shoshone River drainage. These 7 injured cattle had not been included in the 2008 Annual Report.

Annual Report:

“Ten of the 30 known packs in Wyoming were involved in at least 1 depredation in 2008.”


Of the 30 packs counted on December 31, 10 packs killed at least 1 livestock in 2008. Thirteen packs were involved in at least one depredation where wolves caused the death of the livestock, and 3 of these packs were eliminated.  The Soda Lake Pack (4 wolves) was removed after killed livestock in spring of 2008. Two additional packs (Crandall and Gooseberry Packs) were also eliminated after killing cattle in 2008. In addition to the 13 packs that killed livestock in 2008, the Delta Pack injured 7 livestock. Four wolves from the Delta Pack were subsequently removed.


Humbolt State University graduate student Bonnie Trejo met with USFWS, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park (YNP) biologists to finalize her masters proposal to investigate summer predation by wolves near Jackson, WY and in YNP. Bonnie will compare summer food habits of wolves in the 2 study areas by using scat analysis and investigating prey remains at kill sites. Wolf scats have collected at den and rendezvous sites for the past 5 years. Summer kill sites were investigated using GPS technology to locate carcass remains of ungulates killed by wolves during summer.

Annual Reports

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2008 Annual Report is available at: http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .

Status of the NRM wolf delisting rule

The Final Rule to Establish a Gray Wolf – Northern Rocky Mountain Distinct Population Segment and Remove it from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species became effective May 4, 2009.  It was published in the Federal Register Vol 74, No. 62 pages 15123-15188on April 2, 2009.  The rule, the literature cited, and Questions and Answers about it are posted on the USFWS website at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .  The rule delists wolves in Montana, Idaho, eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon, and a small part of north central Utah.  Wolves in Wyoming will remain under the adequate regulatory mechanisms of the ESA.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to manage wolves in all of Wyoming under the provisions of the 1994 nonessential experimental population rules.  Management under the ESA will continue until such time Wyoming develops a regulatory framework that the Service determines meets the purposes of the ESA.  After that happens the Service may initiate the mandatory federal regulatory process [including public review and comment] to turn management over to Wyoming.

Law Enforcement and Related Activities

Nothing to report at this time.

Outreach and Education

Nothing to report at this time.

Further Information

To request an investigation of livestock injured or killed by wolves, please contact the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Wildlife Services at (307)261-5336.

For additional information, please contact:

Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or Ed_Bangs@FWS.GOV

Mike Jimenez (307)733-7096 or (307)330-5631 or  Mike_Jimenez@FWS.GOV




  1. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Euthanized… don’t they mean ‘shot’?

  2. Jim Avatar

    Sadly, I think killing the wolf was probably the wisest choice. If indeed it was approaching cars and begging for food it would have only been a matter of time before it bit someone. I think it had to be sacrificed for the greater good. I can only imagine the anti wolf outcry if a Yellowstone wolf (or as they call them non native canadian wolves…….) bit someone. It would have had disastrous results.

  3. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    John d.
    The wolf folks in Yellowstone use lots of strange words to describe common behavior. Some I have heard are “Raised LegUrination”, “RepeatedCopulations”, “Defecation” , “Duration of Copulatory tie”,etc, etc. These terms are used to justify hiring people with advanced degrees in wildlife science to do jobs that most tenth graders could do with ease.
    I wonder who got the honor of “euthanizing” this wolf. I read a newspaper interview with the park’s chief wolf biologist in which he said they were” Itching to teach the Canyon Pack Wolves a lesson.”, for getting too close to Mammoth. It looks like they taught this wolf a lesson he won’t forget. Trigger finger still itching Doug? I am concerned for the Canyon Pack. Are they next on the hit list?
    Bull Elk #6 (orange tag in left ear) unofficially gored 56 vehicles in Mammoth last fall and chased dozens of visitors. The park superintendent sent rangers and volunteers to keep him out of trouble during the entire elk rut. He didn’t get “euthanized”.

  4. izabelam Avatar

    How about teaching humans a lesson?
    Remove from park, fines, court and maybe banning from vsiting park for feeding, leaving garbage around and being stupid.
    What is the punishment for being stupid?
    And again, maybe we should get the liability waivers signed by park visitors. Did anyone ever mention it? All outfitters make you to sign one when you go out in the ‘wild’. Park is the wild place – or semi wild by now.
    You want to bike, hike, run – sign a liability waiver.

  5. Jim Avatar

    The general public would never stand for an elk getting euthanized. Animals are politicized just like anything else. Wolves=bad, Elk=good (at least to politicians in that area of the country) until that changes it will remain just like it is now. If an elk hurt someone it wouldn’t be a huge story, but if a wolf did then it be worldwide news. Unless the mores and norms that have been solidly in place for hundreds of years change then it will always be like this.

  6. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Signing a waiver would do nothing to stop problems, here in the US, even if you have signed a waiver they still sue when injuries or a death occurs, it is clearly stated in the paper that is given when you enter the park that visiting is a risk, wild animals are a risk, thermal areas are a risk, and yet, people still break the rules and get injured or killed.

    About the only thing you can do if you see people violating the rules is to report them, try to get pictures, description of the car(s) when it happened and where, then turn over the Rangers and hope they can track the violator down..in order to give a ticket most of the time the Rangers have to witness the violation, but there have been cases prosecuted based on photographic evidence, such as the situation that occurred at OF this month….

  7. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    By the way, I have never seen an effective way to punish stupid, but sometimes their actions punish them! You can’t legislate stupid out of the human species! Just as you can’t teach common sense…

  8. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I tend to agree. When a big bull elk bashes a truck at Mammoth Hot Springs, most people think it is pretty funny.

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Larry Thorngren,

    I know some common words for “Raised LegUrination”, “RepeatedCopulations”, “Defecation” , “Duration of Copulatory tie,” etc.

    Should they be used?

  10. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Jim, you are right that an elk would never be killed for being a problem animal. Same thing with a moose, buffalo, or any other ungulate. Strangely enough it is only predators that get this kind of treatment. However, you are also right that an ungulate attacking someone would not get much coverage but a wolf would be international news. An ungulate would get much more coverage than the Billings Gazette or Casper Star-Tribune. So it was shot for the greater good of the wolf population and restoration cause.

    Ralph, if you start using the common words you mention then you might have to put a disclaimer on your site to only allow those over 18. 😉

  11. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I met to say an ungulate would NOT get much more coverage than the Star-Tribune or Gazette.

  12. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Too late Ralph, the control of euphemisms has already been carried out on a number of occasions.

  13. JB Avatar

    “These terms are used to justify hiring people with advanced degrees in wildlife science to do jobs that most tenth graders could do with ease.”

    Good grief, Larry! You’ve carried your anti-science rant a bit far this time, don’t you think? Those terms aren’t used to justify anything; they’re used because the common terminology is considered crass. But if you know a tenth grader with a good working knowledge of statistics (including non-parametrics), chemistry, mammology, biology, ecology, the scientific method and the capability to write manuscripts could please send them my way. I’d be happy to offer them a job as an undergraduate researcher on their 18th birthday.

    Your rants would be more persuasive, if they weren’t so self-serving. It is lot harder to sell a shot of a wolf with a radio collar, isn’t it?

  14. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Rumours over at the Y-net forum have it that the Canyon Pack has moved from Mammoth and the no-stopping-zone has been removed. This certainly relieves a lot of pressure. Somebody has a confirmation?

  15. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Found a link to z7 Bozeman via the timberwolf site with the latest news on the Canyon Pack. Seems the hazing was successful. But what a weird story of pseudo pregnancy and the need to protect the den area in case of pubs only. Link is: http://www.montanasnewsstation.com/Global/story.asp?s=10406517

  16. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I have no trouble removing collars from animals I photograph using photoshop. What I object to is the intrusive pseudo- biology that is inflicted upon park animals to fill up unread reports and keep park research biologists employed for a lifetime.. I am a retired biology teacher and many of my former tenth grade students would have been very capable of darting, drugging, collaring and even shooting these poor animals if given the opportunity. The money spent on these abusive studies would be far better spent in acquiring land like the Royal Teton Ranch near Gardiner .
    I attended a presentation by Dr. Jane Goodall in Boise a few months ago . What a treat! No mention of dart guns, drugging animals, or chasing them to exhaustion by helicopter. You should have been there. This wonderful lady is world famous for her non-invasive studies.

  17. Jim Avatar

    That was interesting news regarding the canyons. I wonder why she never gave birth. I really enjoy this pack as they reminded me of the Haydens. I hope they make it through another year and have pups next year.

  18. Jeff Avatar

    Is it safe to assume they have not killed the two wolves in the Laramie Range south of Casper? They issued a removal order a month or so ago, but they have never announced their removal. Maybe they denned…

  19. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Larry I agree with your comment about the incessant collaring of wildlife. It induces an incredible amount of stress and even death to the animal and might be worth a separate topic for Ralph’s blog. There are many knowledgeable wildlife advocates such as Doug Peacock that are against the practice except in very limited instances.
    It will be interesting to see how the public reacts when wolf hunting begins and the wolves that cost the taxpayer anywhere from $300 to $3000 to collar are shot for a $20 or under tag.
    Jane Goodall also spoke in Missoula about her non-invasive studies.

  20. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I have talked to some of the people I used to work with at FWP and they are talking about making it illegal to shoot a wolf during a hunt if it has a collar on it, which should not be hard to see, of course if a wolf was shot during a legal hunt with a collar it would have to be turned in, and they would re-use it..as with any other collared animal..I also think the will institute a protocol as they have with bears and Mt. Lions where you will have to check the animal in at the nearest Wildlife office so it can be marked as a legal animal and provide the data to track where they are and how many have been taken.

  21. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    The collar may or may not be turned in depending upon the hunter. But then there’s the man-hour cost….trapping or helicopter time etc. Those, together with the collar cost, are the expenses that can approach $3000.

  22. Jay Barr Avatar
    Jay Barr

    Mr. Thorngren,

    I suggest you contact the Federal government and ask them to relax the standards for employment with the NPS, BLM, USFWS, USFS, etc. (ie. do away with the requirements for a college degree and specialized experience). Also, please touch base with the DEA and other regulatory agencies that oversee the use of the drugs that are used in wildlife capture so that we can put these into the hands of the 16-yr-olds you’re advocating conduct the research. When you sell your photos do you put a disclaimer on them noting that they have been digitally manipulated? If not, you are as dishonest to your customers as you suggest that all biologists are in their treatment of the animals in their studies.

  23. TC Avatar

    Comparing Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee studies to free-ranging carnivore, avian, or ungulate studies in North America is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. The chimps are enrolled in observational studies when and if they can be habituated to the presence of humans – those that never become habituated are role players or non-entities in the studies and susequent publications. Who’s advocating for habituation of moose or elk or wolves or wolverines? Furthermore, Dr. Goodall’s work is not entirely “non-invasive”. She clearly recognizes that the presence of humans over decades has influenced the ecology, biology, and behavior of the chimps, and her research group has intervened on more than a few occasions with hands-on procedures in times of injury and disease (is that “non-invasive” or “non-intrusive” or even “natural”?). She’s a good scientist, and an even better wildlife advocate, but come on, she’s not the second coming. Regarding the comments that radio-collars or other radio-markers are “incredibly stressful” to wildlife – who knows, and how? Using the best current practices to gauge “stress” in non-invasive manners (fecal corticosteroid levels, observations of behavioral modification, loss of condition, increased morbidity/mortality compared to non-marked controls, etc.) nobody has demonstrated a link conclusively – a variety of studies provide circumstantial support for both camps (insignificant effect or deleterious effects) and most of these are flawed in some way. My experience is that markers properly deployed by experts adequately trained to minimize risks generally do not result in any detectable effect. A lot of markers have been used on a lot of species for a long time and resulted in some very useful (and in certain applications, critical) data that benefit the species themselves, with extensions to identifying critical habitat, migration corridors, species distributions, critical resources, and inumerable species ecology and biology results, etc., and to condemn all radio-markers due to some esthetic or anthropogenic belief seems childish and naive to me. In my experience, collars and other markers are rarely put out to keep someone employed, collect empty data, or as poorly defined “fishing trips” – the time, labor, costs, and permitting processes are just too much for folks to be doing this on a whim and without some purposeful plan based on reasonable hypotheses and objectives. Could there be better oversight of marking for the benefit of wildlife? Yes, undeniably. Do all marking projects have sufficient scientific merit or applicability to the species in question? No, undeniably. But, are you spouting off like a nutjob? Well, I leave that to each reader to decide. My take on it should be obvious.

  24. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    When I worked for FWP, and we received a mortality signal, we went looking for the collar, if we found it in possession of a hunter who had killed a collared animal and did not report it, then they were cited..

    Now I am not against collaring, it allowed us to gain quite a bit of information on wildlife and interactions with other species..

    That said, I believe it has gone a bit farther than it needs to, I would like to see the new generations spending more time in the field than behind a computer screen…

  25. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Jeff, I have been wondering about the wolves south of Casper as well. Can anyone comment on this? How about the wolf that was dead in Colorado? Anyone know anything about that?

    Now, to get back on topic. I think there needs to be a happy medium with observing wildlife both with collars on the computer and being out in the field. Either way, I have a feeling we will see a decrease in the numbers of collars on wolves, especially since they are not new reintroductions now.

  26. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    ProWolf in WY and others,

    I think most, not all, of those who are studying wolves or “managing” them would like to reduce the use of radio collars.

    I would like to see their use by Wildlife Services reduced plenty because they are usually just a beacon to find them and shot them in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

  27. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I would like to see their use by Wildlife Services reduced plenty because they are usually just a beacon to find them and shot them in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

    I could see that being a concern, especially with all the control rhetoric going on in all three states. Does that happen in Alaska? Also Ralph, have you heard anything about the wolves south of Casper or the one that was dead in Colorado? Sorry to get off topic, I’ve just been curious about that.

  28. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I haven’t heard anything new about the wolves earlier seen south of Casper.

  29. Merdoch Avatar


    On the wolf dead in Colorado subject, there was a news report from several days ago noting that authorities had recently said the investigation was still continuing and didn’t release any other information..

    This pretty much means we can rule out that the wolf was shot or hit by a car since that would be quickly determined if that was the case. A cover-up of the wolf being shot by authorities strikes me as far-fetched, especially since the news would inevitably get out and there would be a backlash from concealing it. (If they couldn’t quickly catch a shooter, it wouldn’t make sense to continue to conceal the news and the sensible move would be to go public to see if there are any individuals with potential information regarding the case.) I suppose we can’t necessarily rule out poisoning, although you would think the results of those sort would have come back by now.

    With regards to Alaska, I can say as a National Park Employee up here that the thing is with the exception of Denali National Park and Yukon-Charlie National Preserve, wolves are not that commonly collared in Alaska. Its often state wildlife agencies that do collar them in other cases, so they have an incentive to avoid wasting their money by then shooting them.

    In the case of Yukon- Charlie, the National Park Service actually got an agreement from the state that they would avoid targeting wolves with radio collars and nearby pack members from the park at all, when the state is running their aerial hunting control action in a nearby area to the park.

    Generally the issue with most Alaskan parks is they have comparatively massive areas to patrol and monitor and a quite limited staff and resources to do so, so they tend to lack the extra funding for tracking down wolves and collaring them. I’d say in general besides the obvious point that wolves are basically throughout Alaska with the exception of some islands, the thing is its generally recognized that wolves in any one area are not particularly that serious a problem as a rule. There simply is not that much livestock that could be potentially attacked, and some of that livestock are buffalo which can do a very effective job defending themselves from wolves regardless. Grizzly bears are clearly the more serious actual threat to people, or crossing the path of a moose at the wrong time for that matter.

  30. Virginia Avatar

    We spent Memorial Day weekend in Yellowstone; hiked up Fossil Forest trail and ran into a grizzly sow and a two-year old cub playing on a snowdrift only about 500 feet from a herd of Big Horn ewes and lambs. Only one of the ewes kept an eye on the bears; the rest seemed unconcerned. The rams were on the other side of the hill – several with huge curls. On the way down spotted a black sow with the tiniest twin cubs I have ever seen; climbing a tree, playing on a log – it was indescribable. You had to be there. We, along with the bears, were alone up there – what a great view at 8,000′. Elk seem to be plentiful, of course buffalo lounging all around and we counted quite a few calves, although I am sick at heart about the hazing and harassment of the mothers and calves by the DOL. On the way home, in Pelican Valley we spotted two of the Mollies – one almost completely white and the other had a gray backside, with white front. The barriers near Mammoth are gone – so the wolves must have moved away. The Park was crowded, but if you are willing to hike up high, you will not see a soul. What a wonderful, animal-filled weekend.

  31. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    That pseudo pregnancy of the Canyon Pack Alpha Female reported by The Yellowstone Wolf Biologist in the news sounds a little fishy. About twenty years ago I observed coyote pups playing at their den in the National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge in Montana. I reported my sighting to the refuge manager, thinking they would like to have more visitors see the pups. When I returned the next morning to watch again, there was a refuge truck sitting on top of the den with a hose attached to the truck’s exhaust pipe and pushed down into the den. They gassed the pups and the mother to death. When I asked why the coyotes were being killed on a refuge, they told me the coyotes were killing ear- tagged pronghorn fawns and interfering with a research study on pronghorn reproduction. It seems that the coyotes had learned to follow the scent of the human fawn taggers to the hidden pronghorn fawns. Instead of stopping the humans from tagging the fawns, the coyotes were eliminated. So much for the term “Wildlife Refuge”.
    It would be interesting to see the den site of the Canyon Pack and see if there are tire tracks over the entrance. This false pregnancy story is just too convenient.

  32. Caleb Avatar

    Yeah we were there this weekend as well. The Canyon pack is no longer in the mammoth area. I was talking to someone who seemed to know what she was talking about, but may have just been making things up who said that the wolf project staff checked the den and saw no pup remains, so they may have moved their den.

  33. Elli Avatar

    The Canyons have been too close to visitors in Mammoth. since last Fall. Too close for their own good, even though they never seemed to bother nor approach people intentionally. If they would have raised pups there it could have become been a big problem concerning managing people.
    If there park service had used aversive conditioning to drive the wolves away, and the female was pregnant, the stress of it also could have caused her to abort and/or loose the pups.

    And Larry. There is no way to get a truck near the supposed Canyon den site. You might have watched this with a coyote den, and it is terrible what happened. But even thinking about something like that in Yellowstone is just absurd.

    A lot of ifs and coulds. Only Doug Smith probably really knows what happened, and he will not be allowed to talk about it. So let’s just hope that the Canyons will stay away from people from now on.

  34. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Elli, when reading the original article I also thought about the stress factor from the conditioning. At least it´s a lot more plausible than the pseudo pregancy theory. The original is not quite a journalistic masterpiece. Anyway the story is a well kept secret in the news.

  35. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Do remember my post about the University of Montana prof who killed 200 female pronghorns for his doctoral research? As I recall, most or all of them were killed in Yellowstone.
    And that 20 year old pronghorn tagging study in the Bison Range? It is still ongoing. Every pronghorn fawn born today in the Bison Range gets a colored ear tag in each ear as soon as it is licked dry by its mother. They still kill coyotes there to keep them from interfering with the study. I suspect the “Gas them with the truck exhaust procedure ” is still in use.
    Those Yellowstone pronghorns that used to have radio collars that wore the hair off of their necks? The collars were left on until the collared pronghorns all died.

  36. Alan Avatar

    There is little question that these studies are of benefit to the species. The more that we know about wolves (for example) the better we can provide for their needs: for example, habitat; and the better we can keep them out of trouble. Unfortunately, researchers who care very much for the species, care very little for individuals. It is, as Mr. Spock in Star Trek would say, a case of “The needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few…or the one.” This is why researchers number animals rather than naming them. They could not do their jobs if they allowed themselves to become attached to individuals.
    I remember speaking with someone once who had wanted to be a wildlife biologist while in school. He changed his mind when the class was instructed to survey squirrels in a local park. They would trap them and snip off one of their toes to indicate that they had been counted. The man said that he wanted to help animals, not hurt them. I would feel the same. While tags and radio collars may be necessary in today’s world, I can’t believe that stapling a colored tag to an animal’s ear is painless anymore than I believe that chasing a wolf pack down with aircraft in deep snow to radio collar them is any less stressful than chasing them down to shoot them as in Alaska.
    We owe these researchers and biologists a lot. We have learned more about wolves since re-introduction than all that we knew about them prior. This benefits us, the ecosystem and the wolves. They do a job that I could not do. Not only because I do not have the knowledge, but because I do not have the stomach for it. Each individual matters to me. Each animal is a living, breathing being to me.
    I guess the bottom line is: When is enough enough? At what point does it become a high school vivisection? No longer to learn new things, but rather simply to demonstrate the same old things to new students? Perhaps that is when it is time to “let the frogs go”.

  37. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Merdoch, hope you are right that it wasn’t a shooting, car strike, or poisoning.
    Virginia, where is the Mollie’s pack territory in Yellowstone? Three years ago I saw a huge white wolf in Hayden Valley and I couldn’t remember if that was called the Hayden or Mollie’s pack on the map. I don’t suppose the odds are good that the wolf you saw is the same as the one I saw.

  38. Jim Avatar

    Prowolf, the white wolf from a few years ago was the alpha female of the Hayden pack that is now outside of the park. She was killed by the Mollies a couple years ago. The Mollies range from the pelican valley into the Hayden valley. The Mollies are wolves that are seen as often as those on the northern range.The white wolf that people see now is the alpha of the canyon pack and is also the daughter of the white Hayden female.

  39. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I do remember telling a ranger about seeing the wolf which was collared. I think he did say it was the alpha female. Regardless, it was my first sighting of an adult wild wolf. She was running on a hillside like something out of an old western movie. I liked wolves before but that was when I really felt strongly about their rightful presence. The only other wild wolf I had seen was a pup about the size of a coyote and it was fleeting.

  40. Ken Cole Avatar

    This kind of thing seems to be happening up north too.

    Bold wolf taunts park cyclists
    Man leaves bike behind at Mile 55 on Denali preserve road; animal uses it as chew toy

  41. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    That could be a scary situation. Hopefully the bean bags work.

  42. Alan Gregory Avatar

    From the Bangor Daily News, Maine, comes this interesting article about a “howling” survey in that state for Eastern Gray Wolves. Here’s the link: http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/106838.html

  43. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    That would be neat to confirm wolves in Maine. I think it would be fun to do the howling survey, even just to be in the outdoors. I don’t know if my voice gets that high pitched though. 😉


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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