Wolves kill, devour elk on Gardiner school’s football field
By angelamontana

Posted: April 24, 2024

A Yellowstone National Park ranger oversees the removal of a cow elk that was killed by a pack of wolves on the Gardiner football field. Jim Baldwin, Courtesy photo

According to an article by Brett French via the Billings Gazette, in a peculiar twist of fate, a cow elk met an unexpected end on the football field of a Montana school.

Gardiner Public Schools found themselves dealing with a pack of wildlife intruders straight out of Yellowstone National Park. Superintendent/principal Jim Baldwin captured the bizarre scene in a photo shared on Facebook—a park ranger overseeing the removal of the elk remains from the field.

The 8-Mile wolf pack, the largest in the park with six adults and 15 yearlings, was the nocturnal culprits behind the kill, swiftly vanishing into the dawn after their feast.

While having wolves as neighbors brings its share of concerns, this pack displayed the natural wariness typical of wild wolves, promptly retreating to the safety of the park.

Yellowstone public affairs officer Linda Veress shed some light on the situation, emphasizing the unique coexistence between wildlife and the Gardiner community, nestled at the park’s doorstep.

“It’s common for elk, bison and pronghorn to be at the school grounds, less so bears and wolves. It is very rare that we document wolves within the town’s developed footprint over the last 28 years. Very seldom, if ever, does park staff need to deal with bears and bison on school grounds.”

Though elk, bison, and pronghorn are frequent visitors to the school grounds, sightings of bears and wolves are far rarer. With a student body of around 60 and a staff of 20, Gardiner, with its population of approximately 700, sits on the northern edge of Yellowstone, straddling the Yellowstone River. It’s a slice of wilderness intertwined with everyday life—an adventure unlike any other!


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