Most Famous Wolf Shot Outside Yellowstone: 832F Was A ‘Rock Star’ For Animal Watchers

By iScienceTimes Staff on December 10, 2012 6:03 PM EST

Wolves of Yellowstone
This wolf pack is one of the many inside Yellowstone PArk that conservationists feel are being threatened by recently overturned federal regulations protecting the species. (Photo: National Park Service)

The most famous wolf in Yellowstone Park was shot on Thursday when she wandered outside the boundaries of the park. Known as 832F because of the ID on her GPS collar, she was the alpha female in the park's most well-known wolfpacks, the Lamar Canyon wolf pack. She was shot and killed legally by hunters taking advantage of recently passed federal and state legislation that allows the killing of wolves in Wyoming. The law also allows for the killing of collared wolves, such as the most famous wolf in Yellowstone, 832F.

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The most famous wolf shot outside Yellowstone is only the latest collared research wolf to be killed in Wyoming. In the last few weeks four other collared wolves have been killed, a move that some conservationists claim is a calculated attack against conservationists and their politics.

'"The proportion of collared wolves is too high to believe this is not being done deliberately," said Mark Cooke of the Wolves of the Rockies conservation group. He believes the wolves provide bragging rights for hunters and are their way of getting back at wolf conservationists. "It's wrong, and the world needs to know this."

Since the most famous wolf was shot on Thursday, officials are now discussing the possibility of creating 'buffer zones' around the park to give the wolves some sort of safe haven should they wander off of park grounds, a move that research shows happens very rarely.

"We don't want to close any area off if we don't have to," said Montana wildlife commissioner Shane Colton in an interview with the Associated Press. "But if we keep losing collared wolves ... management becomes difficult. We want to do this first trapping season right."

Montana has shut down the gray wolf hunting season in areas outside Yellowstone until a solution can be worked out between hunters and conservationists. It's not just about ethics, it's about the dollars and cents that come from a burgeoning tourism industry around Yellowstone. Wolf watching is a big part of that industry; otherwise the most famous wolf shot outside Yellowstone would have been unknown.

"The 2012 hunt has been a disaster for southwest Montana's tourism industry," Ilona Popper with the Bear Creek Council in Gardiner told the AP. "The way this hunt is going, it looks like Fish, Wildlife and Parks is trying to and succeeding in lowering the numbers of wolves in Yellowstone and not on ranch land."

The most famous wolf shot outside Yellowstone Park is featured in the current issue of the magazine American Scientist. The photographer who took the picture told the New York Times that 832F was "the most famous wolf in the world."

While there will be an ongoing debate as to the rules for hunting wolves around Yellowstone Park, there can be no debating the impact the most famous wolf shot outside Yellowstone had on the wildlife watchers and conservationists who adored her.

"When I heard she died, I felt like I lost a family member," said Cooke.

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