Yellowstone National Park wolf biologists report that the park’s Junction Butte Pack (27 wolves) lost three wolves to Montana hunters in the first week of the Montana wolf hunting season, a statement said. park press release. Yellowstone said the Junction Butte Pack transcends Yellowstone’s northern range and is the most watched wolf pack in the world.
Several recent overflights by the park have confirmed that the pack size has been reduced from 27 to 24 animals, losing two female puppies and a one-year-old female, according to a press release from Yellowstone National Park.
The statement says Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks confirms that three wolves were killed outside of Yellowstone near where the Junction Butte Pack was traveling in mid-September.
Yellowstone Wolves in the northern range spend about 5% of the time outside the park, usually in late fall. For more than a decade, the state of Montana has limited the number of wolves collected from Montana Wolf Management Units 313 (Gardiner) and 316 (Cooke City), which are immediately adjacent to the northern boundary of the park. Ninety-eight percent of Montana’s wolves are found outside of units 313 and 316. Recent changes to hunting and trapping have lifted restrictions within these units, making the wolf population of Yellowstone in the northern extremely vulnerable range, Yellowstone said.
Montana has also authorized baiting from private property. Over 33% of Yellowstone’s border stock with Montana is within a mile of private property where baiting is now permitted.
“Yellowstone plays a vital role in wildlife conservation efforts and Montana’s economy. These wolves are part of our balanced ecosystem here and are one of the special parts of the park that attracts visitors from all over the world, ”Yellowstone National Park Director Cam Sholly said in a statement. “We will continue to work with the State of Montana to advocate for the reinstatement of quotas that would protect Yellowstone’s main wolf population as well as the direct economic interests of Montana derived from the hundreds of millions spent by park visitors each year. “
Visitor spending in communities 50 miles from Yellowstone exceeds $ 500 million per year, of which tens of millions are spent by visitors coming to wolf-watching and supporting Montana businesses in gateway communities, the park said. .
The Junction Butte Pack was formed in 2012 in the northern part of the park. The park said it was the most viewed pack in Yellowstone, as it was located close to the northeast entrance road and the road to Slough Creek Campground, offering thousands of views daily. to visitors. The pack numbered eight puppies in 2021.
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