This August 2012 photo shows an image provided by Wolves of the Rockies of the Lamar Canyon wolf pack on a hillside in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. The pack s alpha female was shot Dec. 6, 2012, in Wyoming, among at least five collared wolves from Yellowstone killed by hunters this fall. (Photo: AP)
The legal hunting of wolves near Yellowstone National Park, which has only just been allowed after the animals were taken off the endangered species list two years ago, has been called into question since an alpha female described as "famous" to the park was shot last week. Not only has the Humane Society of the United States filed a lawsuit, but now Montana has banned the hunting of wolves near the park in response as well.
According to a press release issued by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the ban on hunting and trapping wolves in two areas within the Wolf Management Unit 390 went into effect immediately on Tuesday. The release stated the commission closed these areas of the park due to "public concern over the harvest of wolves that wandered out of Yellowstone National Park."
The New York Times reported commission chairman Bob Ream saying the scientific study being conducted with some of the wolves -- some wolves have been tagged with GPS tracking collars -- influenced the decision to ban hunting in the area as well.
“We recognize they put a lot of time and money and effort into collaring wolves, and we want to see that research continue,” Ream said according to the Times.
National Parks Traveler reported Northern Rockies regional director for National Parks Conservation Association, Tim Steven, praising the commission's decision, but also noting that the NPCA would like a permanent buffer zone banning wolf hunting around the park. This would "protect park wolves that occasionally leave the park’s boundaries, boundaries for which it is impossible for wildlife to understand the safety risks associated with it," Steven said.