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One Wolf's Journey from Survivor to Star, and What Her Death Says About Our Appetite for the Wild

posted Sep 4, 2017, 8:23 PM by chloe owens

6/29/17, by Alex Sakariassen, Missoula Independent

One wolf’s journey from survivor to star, and what her death says about our appetite for the wild

In late October 2007, a white wolf died in Yellowstone National Park. The story had all the trappings of a Jack London novel… one Hayden female and five pups did survive their 2007 battle, and they fled to the northwest with the Mollie's in pursuit. By spring 2008, that same female and two males from the Mollie's pack had joined to form what biologists named the Canyon pack, settling into a territory adjacent to and overlapping the Haydens' former claim. The color increasingly faded from the new alpha female's coat, and the resemblance to her dead mother grew with each season. Veteran wolf watchers soon gave her a name. She became the White Lady. On April 11, not quite a decade after the death of her mother, the injured White Lady was discovered by hikers inside the park boundary near Gardiner… a GoFundMe campaign, the money offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the White Lady's killer is in excess of $24,000…Varley agrees that the fame that attaches to the White Lady and other charismatic animals is a double-edged sword. Making her a symbol of wolf resilience may well have increased the temptation for someone to attack that symbol. Still, Varley thinks, the downside of the White Lady's fame is outweighed by the power of her legacy.