There appears to be a legal fight brewing over the death of a famous wolf popular among Yellowstone National Park photographers.
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks representative Abby Nelson has told CBS News and the New York Times that the wolf known as “Spitfire” or 926F was legally killed by a hunter near Cooke City outside the boundaries of Yellowstone Park on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
“A game warden checked with the hunter and everything about this harvest was legal,” Nelson told the New York Times.
Spitfire was the daughter of famous wolf known as “06” who was so beloved that there was a New York Times obituary for her when she was killed by a hunter.
Despite the kill being deemed legal, some groups are again calling for a buffer zone- specifically prohibited by the state- around the park’s boundary.
A petition on Care 2 has garnered more than 92,000 of its target goal of 95,000 signatures as of Dec. 11.
“Please sign this petition calling for a no-hunting buffer zone around Yellowstone National Park to protect more animals from being senselessly killed for sport,” the petition reads. “It’s not uncommon for animals to roam just beyond national park boundaries — which is why their protection should be extended. Sign now to demand buffer zones around Yellowstone National Park.”
The document does not give a suggested buffer zone limit. It’s proposed recipient is the National Park Service.
The New York- based Wolf Conservation Center issued the following statement regarding the kill:
“Officials have confirmed that Yellowstone wolf 926F of the Lamar Canyon Pack, known to some as “Spitfire”, was killed for trophy less than five miles from the northeast entrance to the park. She was the daughter of legendary she-wolf 06.The importance of a keystone predator such as the wolf to a balanced and resilient ecosystem is undeniable. Studies also show that since their return over 20 years ago, wolves have delivered an economic boost to Yellowstone’s surrounding communities. University of Montana researchers found that wolves bring an estimated $35M in annual tourist revenue to the region.
Trophy hunting of wolves brings in money too. Montana wolf hunting licenses cost $19 for residents and $50 for nonresidents.
Perhaps Montana should take a closer look at the economics of wolf hunting. Seems that Yellowstone wolves are worth a lot more alive than dead.”
And a group has sprung up on Twitter called “Defend Our Parks” which does not have a working website listed, that said a forensic investigator and attorney have been hired to pursue a legal argument that the kill was not legal.
The group is claiming there is photographic evidence to show that the wolf was killed in the middle of a county road.