Yellowstone National Park’s best-known wolf, was shot and killed last Thursday outside the park’s boundaries.
The wolf was the alpha female of the park’s highly visible Lamar Canyon pack. She had become so well known to tourists that some wildlife watchers referred to her as a “rock star.”
She was the eighth wolf collared by researchers shot this year after leaving the park’s boundary. Based on tracking data, researchers knew that her pack rarely ventured outside the park, and then only for brief periods.
The person who shot the wolf is reportedly returning the wolf’s GPS tracking-collar. (What kind of person pulls the trigger on a wolf wearing a radio collar?)
High numbers of wolves, including wolves fitted with research collars, have been killed just outside Yellowstone in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming this year as those states have issued large numbers of permits to kill wolves in the northern Rockies.
Wildlife advocates say that the wolf populations are not large enough to withstand state-sanctioned harvests and that the animals attract tourist money. Yellowstone’s scenic Lamar Valley has been one of the most reliable places to view wolves in the northern Rockies, and it attracts scores of visitors every year.
For more on Yellowstone wolves: American Scientist