BILLINGS, MT — Americans outraged with the killing of wolves from Yellowstone National Park (YNP) have organized the Yellowstone Wolf Patrol, whose members have entered the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness to monitor and document Montana’s wolf hunt, which began on September 15th.
Nine members of the Wolf Patrol are currently trailing hunters, who in the last two years, have killed wolves belonging to packs originating from YNP where hunting is prohibited. Wolf Patrol members are opposed to the sport hunting of wolves in Wolf Management Units (WMU) 313 & 316, and are asking Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) to immediately stop the hunt before more wolves are killed.
Yellowstone wolves cross over from the park into WMU 313/316 where since 2012, twelve have been killed by hunters. At least three of the wolves shot in the 2012/2013 season were of high social rank (alpha female or beta male), thus negatively affecting reproduction, hunting behavior, and territorial defense of these unique packs. 7 of 10 (70%) packs living primarily in YNP had at least one wolf killed by hunters.
Wolf hunting in WMU’s 313 & 316, negatively impacts the local economy, including wildlife guide companies, hotels, restaurants, park tourism, and other wildlife-observation-based industries. Yellowstone National Park is one of the few places left in the world where wolves can not only be studied, but also provide tourists from all over the world an opportunity to see a wild wolf.
The recreational killing of apex predators is negatively impacting important predator research while also robbing wildlife watchers of a once in a lifetime opportunity. Yellowstone Wolf Patrol supports the growing economy in wolf tourism, and believes that MFWP is catering to a few special sport hunting interests, all at the expense of one of our nation’s most pristine ecosystems.
“In allowing the killing of Yellowstone wolves, MFWP is not just shooting wolves, but also itself in the foot, because this hunt is giving the entire tourism industry a black eye.” says Patrol member, Julie Henry, “We are not opposed to Montana residents filling their freezers with elk, but the wolves were here first, and deserve protection from recreational killing.”