After the controversial deaths of eight wolves at the hands of hunters the fall of 2012, including the well-known alpha female wolf, 832F (nickname “06”), Montana wildlife officials have decided to shut down wolf hunting and trapping in areas bordering Yellowstone National Park. Each of the wolves killed wore a tracking collar allowing researchers to follow and study its movements.
Officials put the wolf-hunting ban into place in part due to “public concern over the harvest of wolves that wandered out of Yellowstone National Park,” said a press release from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission. Chairman of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission Bob Ream noted that the tracking collars and scientific study played a role in the decision as well.
“We recognize they put a lot of time and money and effort into collaring wolves, and we want to see that research continue,” he told The New York Times.
Wolves were removed from the endangered species list in 2010, and the ability to hunt them was recently legalized. The revocation of hunting privileges around Yellowstone comes after the most recent death of well known alpha female wolf, 832F.
National Parks Traveler reported that Tim Stevens, Northern Rockies regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association, applauds the decision and hopes that it isn’t just a temporary action.
“Just two years removed from the (endangered species) list in Montana, this year’s hunting season has taken a significant toll on iconic members of Yellowstone’s gray wolf population, which has included the killing of five wolves that were wearing scientific research collars, including one that was arguably Yellowstone’s most popular wolf among staff and visitors, alpha female 832F,” he said. “While this (ban) is temporary, we are hopeful that the state commission will set in place a permanent buffer around Yellowstone that will protect park wolves that occasionally leave the park’s boundaries, boundaries for which it is impossible for wildlife to understand the safety risks associated with it.”