Target: Gary Wolfe, Montana Wildlife Commissioner
Goal: Create a buffer zone to protect wolves from hunting and trapping near Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone National Park’s gray wolf population enjoys federal protections and is safe from threats of injury or death from hunting and trapping while within the park. However, if these same animals leave the safety of the park, they may be hunted or trapped freely. Formerly protected by the Endangered Species Act, the gray wolf is no longer under federal protection, having been recently de-listed by Congress. The fate of the gray wolf is in states’ hands, and hunting and trapping gray wolves is currently legal in Montana.
Several Yellowstone wolves have been killed after wandering over the park’s boundary. Among those killed was “the 06 female,” often called “Yellowstone’s most famous wolf,” and perhaps the world’s most beloved wild animal. This wolf, tracked and researched by the Yellowstone Wolf Project, attracted wildlife lovers and photographers to Yellowstone, and had her movements closely followed by a global community of wolf watchers. Like this wolf, many of the dozen or so Yellowstone wolves that have been killed outside of the park boundaries were also wearing tracking collars. Some hunters have even admitted that they purposefully target Yellowstone research wolves.
The gray wolf has struggled to reestablish itself as a species, having been gradually reintroduced after near extinction while facing down deeply ingrained fears and prejudices. Though the gray wolf has attained conservation status as a “least concern” species, this status was hard-won, and only recently. The fate of the gray wolf species is still considered by many wildlife experts and biologists to be hanging in the balance. Yellowstone’s wolf population was and continues to be key in the reestablishment of the gray wolf species. Demand that the state of Montana establish a buffer zone around the border of Yellowstone to keep these animals safe from hunters and trappers.
Dear Mr. Wolfe,
As you know, the gray wolf has only recently recovered from endangerment, and its fate as a species is still hanging in the balance. No longer protected by the Endangered Species Act, the gray wolf’s survival is dependent on state laws and federal protections offered by national parks and other public lands. The gray wolves of Yellowstone, protected while inside the park, lose all protections when they happen to wander over the park’s boundary, where they fall prey to hunting and trapping.
The gray wolf population of Yellowstone National Park has been key in the species’ reestablishment and success as a species. We, the undersigned, ask that a buffer zone be established in areas adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. This no-hunting, no-trapping buffer zone will help ensure that the Yellowstone gray wolves are protected from the hunters that admittedly target them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters