Wolf Looking For Human Handouts Euthanized By Yellowstone National Park Staff

A 110-pound gray wolf that appeared to have become too familiar with human foods was put down by Yellowstone National Park staff recently.

Since July, the male lobo had approached staff and visitors at close range at least seven times and had been unsuccessfully hazed each time from the Fishing Bridge developed areas, park officials said Wednesday. The wolf was a member of Mollie’s Pack from the Pelican Valley area, and was estimated to be between 2 and 4 years old.

The decision to remove the wolf last Saturday, October 8, came following a history of fearless behavior in the presence of humans, repeated visitation to developed areas within the park, and numerous unsuccessful hazing attempts, a park release said. Each of these factors was indicative of the wolf’s potential habituation to human food, which posed an increased risk to park visitors and staff.

Efforts to relocate food-conditioned animals have generally proven unsuccessful because they simply return to the areas from which they were removed.

Park visitors are reminded that intentionally feeding or allowing animals to obtain human food is a violation of park regulations, which may ultimately lead to the death of the animal involved. Park rangers vigorously enforce these regulations that are designed to protect both people and animals. Visitors are also reminded to be vigilant at all times with proper food storage by keeping food, garbage, coolers and other attractants stored in hard-sided vehicles or food storage boxes.

Park rules require that you to stay at least 100 yards away from wolves at all times. Visitors are also advised to stay on designated trails, hike in groups of three or more people, and to be alert for wildlife and make noise in blind spots. The best defense against attacks is to stay a safe distance from wildlife and use your binoculars, spotting scope or telephoto lens to get a closer look, and never feed, approach, disturb or entice wolves in any way. Bear spray may be an effective last resort should a wolf approach too closely.

Sightings of wolves in close proximity of humans and developed areas may be a dangerous situation developing and should be reported to the nearest visitor center or ranger station as soon as possible.

Comments

This is just too sad! But what can you do when visitors don't follow National Park procedures about storing and disposing of food when in the Parks. Sometimes you just can't fix stupid!!

Very well stated. It is ignorant people that cause these animals to be killed.

Disgusting.
That poor wolf did NOT have to pay with his life.
There are many other options and venues available to prevent this senseless and needless death of a beautiful creature.
Relocation to a Wolf sanctuary is one solution.
His weight was small @110 lbs...perhaps he had an injury that was preventing him from hunting or eating...that was forcing him to seek the closeness of humans in search of food. A medical exam should have been performed to see IF these issues were presenting themselves.
Instead...he was killed and his beautiful existence was wiped away.
WE.... are the caretakers of Mother Earth and her wonderful gifts. When we stop remembering that...we have lost sight of WHY we are here and our responsibility to this Planet and her creatures needs to be evaluated.
What took place by the Yellowstone staff was nothing less than... Shameful.

Dawn-you hit the nail on the head! I could not have said it more perfectly myself-it is though you spoke for me, your words are pretty much word for word what I was going to say-So I shall say "Ditto" and Thank you :)

I don't fully understand why some people put certain animals on pedastals and think for some reason they are better than any of the other inhabitants of this earth. Everything has its place. Some overstep their bounds. Us included. Wolves like all pack animals can be extremely vile creatures. i.e. They've been known to start eating their kills (from the hindquarters first) before their prey is actually dead. They've also been known to kill for sport. Although it is sad that it had to be put down in part because of us, it wasn't without fault. They are not the noble creatures some people fantasize them being.

Dawn, unfortunately there are many, many factors that go into making a decision like this. Don't be too quick to judge. It's not at all unusual for animal sanctuaries to be unable or unwilling to accept one more animal. Their capacities are not unlimited.

Believe me, when rangers must kill an animal it is not something they want to do.

Dawn:
Disgusting.
That poor wolf did NOT have to pay with his life.
There are many other options and venues available to prevent this senseless and needless death of a beautiful creature.
Relocation to a Wolf sanctuary is one solution.
His weight was small @110 lbs...perhaps he had an injury that was preventing him from hunting or eating...that was forcing him to seek the closeness of humans in search of food. A medical exam should have been performed to see IF these issues were presenting themselves.
My information says that 110 lbs is a pretty healthy weight for a gray wolf (well above average for a North American wolf), and about average for the population in Yellowstone. If anything, I would guess that it got fat off of human handouts. There's a wide variation, so just hearing about its weight isn't enough to speculate that something was preventing it from normal hunting activities. I would guess that as with other wildlife, once an animal gets used to human foods that require little effort to procure, they don't particularly want to go back. They can expend less effort and possibly get more food if they can find people willing to give them food.

Of course the big problem is that they can become a nuisance. Other wildlife that are used to getting handouts start getting testy when they come across a tourist without food. I remember hearing about how Yellowstone bears were used to getting handouts, and they actually attacked some people who they approached but didn't have food to give.

You know all the preditory animals are being wiped out by the biggest preditor of all...man. Wolves are disliked because they are 'killing' off the elk etc. really? I mean for thousands of years wolves and elk, deer, bison everything co-existed none were extint until man started hunting them. Now man is angry because Wolf is eating all of Elk or Horse is eating all of the range from mans beef. This young Wolf found an easy supply of food, he should have been put in a sancuary not murdered by man, afterall Wolf is related to mans best friend Dog.

I hate to see a wolf killed as well-- but I wonder if everyone would have been as upset if it had been a porcupine?? We saw a wolf this summer in Yellowstone by Soda Butte and it was a thrill for sure but its an animal no more valuable then any of the others.The park staff I'm sure did not take killing this animal lightly--- the idiots who continue to feed and habituate the animals in YS are the ones to blame.

I have a great idea.Everytime the park rangers see any animal being fed. The rules should be a fine and suspension from all National Parks for a year.

Anonymous:
I have a great idea.Everytime the park rangers see any animal being fed. The rules should be a fine and suspension from all National Parks for a year.
That's all fine and dandy, but for the most part people know it's illegal but do it anyways. If a potential feeder sees anyone in a uniform with the authority to hand out a fine, that person isn't likely to do it.

There are fines for even negligent feeding (i.e. improperly securing food). I've seen signs stating that fines for feeding wildlife can be as high as $2000 - probably for something as egregious as deliberately feeding a bear.

~ALL life is sacred.
There were OTHER options available.

I hate to see any animal lose its life because people broke the rules, no matter the species. I've had to relocate skunks (who feeds skunks?!) from campgrounds because they were so used to people they would walk right up and sit next to them in the campsite. But sometimes it does become necessary to use lethal force. That is the last resort. The National Park Service will exhaust all other options before resorting to killing. But a habituated animal can become very, very dangerous and that just can't be allowed to happen. And as y_p_w stated, some people just don't care about rules and will do it anyway. I'm not going to repeat the story about my sister and the bears, but that is a great example. She knew the rules (heck she's my sister!) and decided that feeding bears was much too tempting. I really do think there should be tougher punishments for those that are caught feeding, but it will still happen.

Dawn, please tell us exactly what other options were available?



Well, since YELL visitation is waning and heavy snows arriving,, why not just wait to learn how this animal will fare following the winter and spring ?

The view & decision that NPS armed rangers need some excitement during

their days of bison/bear jams by killing a species their former rangers made extinct when proud

superintendents stood for photographs by the multiple bodies of shot, trapped wolves, coyotes, & cougars is a bit repulsive if you have an interest in saving threatened and endangered species. The number of

wolves poached/killed by rancher-hunters filled with wolf hatred in the Yellowstone Ecosystem remains largely unknown.

Although this animal approached visitors near Fishing Bridge, no one was actually harmed

as they may have been were this a visitor's loose pit-bull. The legacy of the NPS "GREEN & GREY" is not

promising for the next century (Centennial 2016) since the NPS Agency Culture refuses to change and adapt to more ecological-wildlife friendly solutions for remnant native species viciously persecuted by European pioneers.

As your History of the NPS 101 Course, Just study how former Glacier Supt. Briggle treated a wildlife biologist or former Supt. Anderson and his lower-ranked Biologist Cole

treated the Craighead Brothers studying the Grizz. Your Text References:

Michael Frome's Regreening the National Parks, and

(here, Michael remains a timid critic of the NPS Culture).

and
"The Grizzly Bears of Yellowstone - Their Ecology in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, 1959-1992" by John J. Craighead, Jay S. Sumner, and John A. Mitchell. Island Press 1995

For those who think that rangers euthanize for thrills: go watch them cry and lose sleep afterward. They loathe this part of the job. Would you have them wait until the wolf took a small child? Because eventually it probably would. And THAT would lose the good will of nearly all supporters of wolf reintroduction. Part of wildlife management isn't pretty and your love of all beautiful things aside, sometimes the good of the whole is more important.

For Lee Dalton... Your question has to be the MOST ridiculous question that I have EVER encountered. However, I will answer your question on your behalf and to clarify AGAIN that there were OTHER options.

Those options start with openinig up GOOGLE. Search: Animal Sanctuary/Exotic Animal Rescues, etc.

"Keepers of the Wild", located in Kingman AZ, is ONLY one of many sanctuaries, that would have taken him, so that his life did NOT have to be extinquished.

For Kathy Dimont...Whether the Rangers cry or lose sleep is not of paramount importance here. What is of importance here is that a life was taken. YOU can not speak of the future prediction that the Wolf would have taken a child. That is unknown, and will permenantly remain so now.

Anonymous, above, said it best.... Why not wait until Spring and see how the animal faired.

Signs to keep peoplpe from feeding the animals so they won't become dependent on handouts....and yet our government is handing out Food stamps and government welfare checks by the millions everyday. Here we are people bashing for handing out food to the poor animals and yet our society and economy is falling apart based on these same principles. There seems to be more concern for the animals than people. We need to start posting signs at stores- Thank the tax payer behind you paying for your groceries and providing your welfare check. The opinion seems to be, No one wants to see these animals hurt or killed and yet you think oh look at the pretty wolf, cute bear, moose, mountain lion etc... until some one is killed or taken within an inch of their life by one of these animals. We are invading into their territories. These animals are naturally wild and if you were to follow them each day yes you would see some amazing and wonderful things but at some point you will also see the very nature of their survival as well. Many would not be able to stomach the truth of how they survive in the wild.