Since their reintroduction into the lower 48 States in 1995, wolves have become a polarizing animal in the West: on one side, environmentalists and wildlife advocates. On the other, hunting outfitters and ranchers. The animals have flourished in the roadless areas of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
Who knows what side of the issue you’re on? Who cares? In common sense thinking, this is just ugly: A rare white wolf was shot inside Yellowstone National Park last month. Poached. Someone’s form of fun. The animal didn’t immediately die either so whoever pulled the trigger didn’t have the nuts to follow through. The animal had to be euthanized after suffering a rather ugly demise when it was found by hikers inside the park’s northern boundary near Gardiner, Montana.
Park officials were so rocked by the death, they initially offered a $5,000 reward out of an already-thin budget for information on the shooting. A wolf advocacy group doubled down the reward to find these barneys. “Due to the serious nature of this incident, a reward of up to $5,000 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for this criminal act,” said Dan Wenk, Yellowstone National Park’s Superintendent in a statement. The Montana-based group, Wolves of the Rockies, made it an even 10 grand.
There’s actually a season on wolves in each of the aforementioned states (generally August to March, depending on state and special regulations). But the animals are obviously protected inside the boundary of the park at all times. Some advocacy groups have pushed for a buffer zone that would extend some 30 miles outside park boundaries. This female wolf was one of three in the park and at the time, was around 12 years old, more than double the average age for the animals living in Yellowstone. She’d become a hero, of sorts, to visitors and had given birth to at least 20 pups in her lifetime.
I’ll let mainstream media report this one. I’ll just react: These animals are no longer federally protected. They’re legal to hunt (again, outside national parks). With a tag. Like other game animals.
So follow the freakin’ rules, kooks!