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Habituated Wolf's Death May Leave Lasting Legacy - Yellowstone is Looking into Aggressively Hazing the Lamar Valley Lobos

posted Apr 9, 2019, 8:37 PM by chloe owens

12/5/2018, by Mike Kohmri, Jackson Hole News & Guide

Habituated wolf’s death may leave lasting legacy – Yellowstone is looking into aggressively hazing the Lamar Valley lobos.

Wolf biologist Doug Smith wants to smarten up Yellowstone’s wolves. As Yellowstone National Park’s senior wildlife biologist, Smith has witnessed naive, habituated wolves being hunted down easily outside of the park, where people can legally point rifles instead of cameras. Since wolf hunting seasons outside the 2.2-million-acre park’s borders in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming aren’t going to come to an end, Smith wants to start teaching wolves a life-saving lesson: People aren’t safe. “Right now, if they’re crossing the road we may leave them alone,” Smith told the News&Guide this week. “Now we’re thinking of pounding them. If you get close to people, you’re going to get hit.” Being “hit,” he explained, means hazing wolves, with either paintball or beanbag guns. Making such a major change to Yellowstone’s roadside wolf-watching policy — if it goes through — would be the result of introspection…“Having a wolf not wary of a person, that’s a product derived from the park,” he said. “Those were wolves that lived 99 percent of the time in the park. That’s on us, so what do we do? To be honest I don’t know, but now everything is on the table.”… a Cooke City, Montana, hunter killed wolf 926F on Nov. 24. The hunter’s trophy was a highly habituated former alpha female of the Lamar Canyon Pack with a lineage that traced to the 1995 wolf reintroduction. It was the same fate as the world-famous lobo’s mother, known as “06,” and it sparked an online fury, and calls for a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks investigation…Gardiner, Montana, resident and avid wolf watcher Deby Dixon looked back at 926F as a particularly habituated wolf, one that grew up with cameras and spotting scopes pointed at her. The 7 1/2-year-old graying black female was also a bucket-list lobo that Lamar Valley visitors set out to see…A small wolf, at just about 80 pounds, 926F was a great-great-great-grandaughter of wolf No. 9, part of the first batch of wolves reintroduced into Yellowstone 23 years ago from Alberta.