Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Death of 527

The following image and report was received from the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), November 16, 2009.
Wolf 527, pictured to the right, originated from the Druid pack - one of the best known wolf packs in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley. She was beloved by wolf-watchers and wildlife biologists who chronicled her courageous life. Sadly, she was also one of the first wolves killed in October -- during Montana's first wolf hunt in modern times. 
Here's an excerpt from an obituary written by a wolf-watcher . . .
"527 was a wolf that marched to the beat of a very different drummer." As a yearling, 527 left the Druids to join the Slough pack -- where she quickly became the beta (second-in-command) female. Then in 2007, she and a male wolf set off to found their own pack -- the Cottonwood Creek pack -- where she became the alpha (first-in-command) female. 
As a leader of the Cottonwood pack, 527 was known to be a master of survival strategies. While four other packs that inhabited the same area suffered dismal fates, her pack thrived. As her biographer recounts, "She was a genius wolf in her tactics. Strategy was her game and she was a master at it. She would return to feed her pups in the dark of night because she would not take the risk of crossing the road."  But in the end, despite 527's "unbelievable survival strategies," this resilient wolf "was not able to outthink a rifle" and was killed on October 3 when Montana unleashed its first public wolf hunt in modern times.  According to NRDC, since the public hunts began, 156 wolves in the Northern Rockies have met 527's fate. Over the next year, more than 500 wolves could be shot to death by hunters and government agents . . . reducing the region's wolf population by a staggering 40 percent!  If this outrages you as much as it does me, I urge you to contact Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (as I did) and let him know how you feel.

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