Just outside of Yellowstone, the Lamar Canyon wolf alpha female named “Spitfire” was shot dead by a trophy hunter last weekend outside of the park in Helena, Montana
Though it was a legal shooting because Spitfire can’t read and somehow had wandered out of the park while a hunter had her in his sight, the killing now presents a warning to what could happen to the endangered gray wolves across the nation if the Trump administration proceeds with their plans to strip the gray wolves of their Endangered Species Act Protection.
According to the 06Legacy, the report on November 28 detailed the tragic death of Spitfire (“926′)
“It’s so difficult to write this. We are passing along the devastating news that our beloved 926F of the Lamar Canyon Pack was killed in the Montana trophy hunt. She was the daughter of our namesake 06 and she was known as the Queen of the Lamar Valley. She was seven years old and led her pack through a number of very difficult circumstances. 926F showed incredible strength, courage and resilience in everything she did. She had a special bond with her daughter Little T and they stayed together all these years.
We had so much to celebrate when we saw five strong and healthy pups this fall. And now it took just one bullet and 926F is gone. Just like her mother 06 and her uncle 754M before her. With current wolf management practices, the tragedy just doesn’t end.
The 06 Legacy is committed to protecting wolves and we are going to fight even harder for 06, 926F, 754M and all the other wolves whose lives are taken for granted and are killed for nothing more than sport,” the organization wrote on their Facebook page; a group dedicated to following the wolves and protecting their existence.
The New York Times reported Spitfire was killed less than five miles from the northeast entrance of Yellowstone which has again reignited calls for a buffer zone around the hunting free zone of Yellowstone to protect the animals when they wander out so close from their safe areas.
“Perhaps Montana should take a closer look at the economics of wolf hunting,” the New York-based Wolf Conservation Center wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “Seems that Yellowstone wolves are worth a lot more alive than dead.”
Wolves were reintroduced to the park during the 1990s; statistics show ten packs in Yellowstone with 100 wolves in all. In the Northern Rocky Mountain states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, there are currently 1,700 wolves. A highlight of traveling and sightseeing in the area are the wolves; most of these animals are so used to seeing humans they are not afraid as hunters stand around and wait for one of them to step over the imaginary protection line of the park. The wolves are becoming harder to spot – hunters shooting them for sport diminishes the chances of observing the magnificent animals during guided tours.
Experts fear Spitfire’s death could endanger the pack’s survival which includes her daughter, nicknamed Little T and another wolf called Small Dot. For the first time in three years a litter of five pups were born to the Lamar Canyon pack.
“Wolf hunters talk about seeing a pack of wolves outside the boundary and being able to pick the one they want,” stated Doug Smith, the park’s wolf biologist. “They just stand there and have no fear.”
And there we have trophy hunting!
Yesterday: Dog shakes in fear after being surrendered – more here.