In the past two months an estimated 8-10 Yellowstone wolves have been legally murdered for no reason other than straying across the invisible borders of the Park into Wyoming and Montana.

Two days ago the collared ’06 alpha female (also known as 832F) of Lamar Valley was shot and killed by a hunter in an area some 16 miles East of YNP near where her pack mate 754M was trophy-bagged a few weeks earlier.

Perhaps the most famous of all wolves, ’06 had been seen and loved by an estimated one million viewers. I, myself, was enchanted with her, and would like to take this opportunity in tribute to reblog a portion of a recently-published anecdote from her remarkable life…

The Raid

Five days after the birth of the Lamar Canyon Pack’s pups 16 Mollies brazenly raided their den.

The Lamar pack is led by the famous 6-year-old gray alpha female, 832F. (Along with a 4-year-old black alpha male, 755M.) Formerly known as “The ’06 Female,” she is savvy and courageous with a reputation for quick and decisive action.

alpha female 832 returning to den– Lamar Canyon Alpha Female 832F –

2006 – 2012

832F immediately raced out of the den site to lure the 16 invading Mollies away from the pups. At her age she did not have the advantage of speed, but she knew the terrain, and she had a plan.

Some distance away 832F paused at the brink of a steep cliff. The Mollies with hackles raised closed in on her, sensing a kill. Suddenly 832F disappeared over the ledge and dropped out of sight. She took advantage of a treacherous but navigable route down the rocky slope and correctly calculated that the Mollies would be too intimidated to chance the unfamiliar terrain.

As the bewildered Mollies regrouped and turned back toward the den, 832F’s two-year-old daughter suddenly arrived on the scene. She bravely charged straight toward the 16 Mollies to get their attention, and then lured them further away on another chase.

lamar canyon wolf

Young and fit, in the prime of her life, the daughter easily outran the Mollies.

lamar canyon wolf

Thanks to a coordinated effort by 832F and her daughter, the 9 members of the Lamar Canyon Pack and their 4 pups, though heavily outnumbered by the invading Mollies, were safe and sound.

Alpha Female 832F, despite her age, or maybe because of it, is a consummate professional at what she does – which is to protect and guide the Lamar Canyon Pack from one generation to the next in a land wild and unforgiving.

Crafty and courageous, 832F has a dedicated cadre of enthusiasts who faithfully chronicle her every move, such as they can. Wolf-watching is addictive. I went to Yellowstone in June for a two-week visit and ended up staying three months. And while I was never part of the “inner circle” of lupophiles, I quickly found myself crawling out of bed day after day at 4am and driving an hour and a half in the dark to be on site at sunrise. All for the slim chance of spotting a wolf usually too far away for a decent photograph.

🙂🙂🙂

wolfers at sunrise

😦 Good-bye, alpha ’06😦

alpha female 832F crossing road

[Click here for my original blog about the killing of a member of the Mollies Pack by ’06 and the Lamar Canyon Pack]

The Wolf That Changed America

How famous was 832F?  Well, it is probably safe to say that she is the only Canis lupus to have her obituary published in the New York Times.

‘Famous’ Wolf Is Killed Outside Yellowstone

By NATE SCHWEBER

Published: December 8, 2012

Yellowstone National Park’s best-known wolf, beloved by many tourists and valued by scientists who tracked its movements, was shot and killed on Thursday outside the park’s boundaries, Wyoming wildlife officials reported.

The wolf that researchers called 832F, left, was shot on Thursday. The alpha female of the Lamar Canyon pack, she wore a tracking collar. The wolf with her, known as 754, was killed last month.

The wolf, known as 832F to researchers, was the alpha female of the park’s highly visible Lamar Canyon pack and had become so well known that some wildlife watchers referred to her as a “rock star.” The animal had been a tourist favorite for most of the past six years.

The wolf was fitted with a $4,000 collar with GPS tracking technology, which is being returned, said Daniel Stahler, a project director for Yellowstone’s wolf program. Based on data from the wolf’s collar, researchers knew that her pack rarely ventured outside the park, and then only for brief periods, Dr. Stahler said.

This year’s hunting season in the northern Rockies has been especially controversial because of the high numbers of popular wolves and wolves fitted with research collars that have been killed just outside Yellowstone in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

Wolf hunts, sanctioned by recent federal and state rules applying to the northern Rockies, have been fiercely debated in the region.

The wolf population has rebounded since they were reintroduced in the mid-1990s to counter their extirpation a few years earlier.

Many ranchers and hunters say the wolf hunts are a reasonable way to reduce attacks on livestock and protect big game populations.

This fall, the first wolf hunts in decades were authorized in Wyoming. The wolf killed last week was the eighth collared by researchers that was shot this year after leaving the park’s boundary.

The deaths have dismayed scientists who track wolves to study their habits, population spread and threats to their survival. Still, some found 832F’s death to be particularly disheartening.

“She is the most famous wolf in the world,” said Jimmy Jones, a wildlife photographer who lives in Los Angeles and whose portrait of 832F appears in the current issue of the magazine American Scientist.

Wildlife advocates say that the wolf populations are not large enough to withstand state-sanctioned harvests and that the animals attract tourist money. Yellowstone’s scenic Lamar Valley has been one of the most reliable places to view wolves in the northern Rockies, and it attracts scores of visitors every year.

😦😦😦

Doug Smith, leader of the Yellowstone Wolf Project, speaks out in a radio interview about the death of 832F.

 

 

21 thoughts on “Alpha Female 832F of Lamar Canyon Pack Shot & Killed

  1. Thanks so much for this post. I’ve been shocked by the number of Yellowstone wolves that have been killed this year. I hope we (and by we I guess I mean the people of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho) can come up with some changes to the hunting regulations that will provide a protected area along the boundary of the park. I’ll be amazed, though, if the change happens quickly.

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    • I agree that change will not happen quickly. This issue with wolves is as complex and as entrenched as gun laws themselves. I would have come out more forcibly in my blog on the side of the wolves, but I don’t feel I am articulate enough. Others with more facts will rise to the occasion, however. Thanks…

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  2. That’s heartbreaking to hear. I’m trying to convince myself, to console, that her brilliant heroism is now part of human knowledge, too.You’ve brought her into all our lives with your wonderful documenting ~ words and photographs. What a story. Containing wild animals within borders is challenging. Wild animals dealing with a concept based on …what… terrain, climate, adjoining territories already owned by other creatures…not thinking square miles. And despite the numbers instead of names (which, I can’t help it, irritates, I suppose it’s an official attempt at distance) I feel so close to them all from your stories and their beauty. I loved the point made in the film you posted too, the surprise of ready viewing in Yellowstone, and how exquisite that turned out to be. I’m sorry for this loss, to you, to us all.
    RIP Alpha Female 832F,
    Afatethritu,
    Beautiful Brave Star of Yellowstone.

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    • Yes, “containing wild animals within borders is challenging,” and one of the compromise-type initiatives under legislative proposal is the establishment of “buffer zones” adjacent to the Park. Not a perfect solution, but a step in the right direction. Thanks as always for your comments!

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  3. How very sad, it is all the more poignant when so many had learned to appreciate and admire her. Seems a waste when being fitted with a GPS collar the use of telemetry and aversion tactics hadn’t helped in sparing her. Understand the complex issues around human /wildlife conflict issues and polarising communities. Not easy to resolve, especially when it comes to carnivores.

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      • Front page NYTimes says it all! Yes, would be interesting to know the full context of her range and prey and what had drawn her into the area. Here much work is being done in trying to give protection to the last of the free ranging leopard and rooikat (lynx) in the Cape Fold Mountains. Getting buy in from the farming community is the biggest challenge. Clever carnivores suss out the ease of preying on domestic stock and farmers unhappy about sustaining the loss. Always two sides to a story but wildlife near human habitation always gets the bad rap, and ends badly for the animals. Worldwide, it’s becomes ever more apparent that there needs to be enforcement of managing an ‘interface zone’ between wild/rural/urban.

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      • Statistics that I saw say the wolves are taking a very low percentage of livestock, almost none. I have always wondered why we don’t just establish a fund to reimburse ranchers for wolf-losses and then wouldn’t the problem go away? No, of course not; the killing mentality would still assert itself.

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  4. Hunters who shoot collared wolfs should be fined and their permits taken away to not be able to shoot anything again for 5+ years. These types of hunters are irresponsible and insensitive to all of the efforts to monitor these animals to better understand them and to plan for the future. Their actions are embarassing to fellow human beings.

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    • I understand guns, and I support the right to hunt under the right circumstances. But killing a collared wolf is a deliberate act by a deranged mind who probably shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun in the first place.

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  5. Heartbreaking and terribly sad. I love Yellowstone and visit every chance I get. There is something magical about seeing the wolves on any visit, and knowing they are killed if they cross park boundaries (as are bison that stray out of the park) is disheartening. I know there are two sides to this issue, but their demise is nevertheless disturbing.

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