And now for some sad news from Yellowstone National Park — the New York Times reports that 832F, the very photogenic alpha female of the park's semi-famous Lamar Canyon, was shot and killed on Thursday beyond the park's boundaries thanks to state-sanctioned wolf hunts in Wyoming.
The wolf had been fitted with a $4,000 GPS collar as part of the park's wolf-tracking program. Based on data gathered from the collar, researchers knew that the pack rarely ventured outside the park boundaries, and when they did leave Yellowstone, it was only for very short periods of time. 832F was considered among scientists and photographers to be something akin to a "rock star" in the lupine world (a photo of 832F snapped by wildlife photog Jimmy Jones appears in the current issue of American Scientist), and her sudden death has further stoked a debate about the wisdom of state- and federally-sanctioned wolf hunts in the northern Rockies.
Other famous wolves have been killed this season in Idaho, just beyond Yellowstone's boundaries, and although many ranchers and hunters say the wolf hunts help protect livestock and big game populations, the hunts have interfered with scientists' efforts to track and study the movements of wolf packs. Reputed to be the "most famous wolf in the world," 832F's death has hit the scientific community particularly hard. However, if you want to feel a little better about all this, feel free you enjoy a clip from far down the West Wing memory lane, which features budding outdoorsman Ron Swanson:
‘Famous Wolf' Is Killed Outside Yellowstone [NY Times]