Concerns That Yellowstone’s Wolves are Being Targeted by HuntersBy Rocky Thompson on November 19th, 2012
Seven wolves with ties to Yellowstone have been killed by hunters out of a population of 88 wolves in the park. The wolves were legally killed by hunters on lands abutting the park. The park knows they’ve lost at least seven wolves because all of them were collard. Conservationists are worried that hunters are targeting the collared wolves, which are often the pack alphas, in the hopes that killing the alpha will disrupt the pack behavior. Tourists annually spend about $35.5 million directly related to traveling in the park in hopes of seeing wolf packs in their natural environment. The park realizes they’re not going to save every wolf from hunters, but they hope to set up a “virtual Poland” or buffer zone around the park where wolves can’t be harvested.
Maybe hunters are trying to take down wolves with collars, or maybe a few enterprising, wolf-hating hunters bought the necessary components to track wolves tagged with radio collars. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of hunting.