Hunters have shot and killed 20 of Yellowstone National Parks’s gray wolves over the past few months.
Hunters shot 15 of the wolves near the park’s northern border in Montana, according to an article Thursday published by ABC News. The other five were killed in Idaho and Wyoming.
Park officials believe the wolf killings are “a significant setback for the species’ long-term viability and for wolf research,” ABC News reported. The number of wolves killed this season is the most since the wolves were reintroduced over 25 years ago.
20 of Yellowstone’s renowned wolves roamed from the park + were shot by hunters in recent months.
With months to go in Montana’s hunting season + trapping season just starting, officials expect more wolves will die.@POTUS can #RelistWolves to save them.https://t.co/4pxpflON4n
— Wolf Conservation Center (@nywolforg) January 6, 2022
The Phantom Lake Pack of gray wolves is now considered eliminated by park officials because a significant number of the wolves were killed in just two months, according to the outlet.
Roughly 94 wolves are left roaming Yellowstone National Park, reported ABC News. Park officials believe more will be killed in the coming months.
Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly sent a letter to Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte urging him to shut down hunting and trapping near the park’s border, ABC News reported.
“Once a wolf exits the park and enters lands in the State of Montana it may be harvested pursuant to regulations established by the (state wildlife) Commission under Montana law,” Gianforte said in a statement, according to the outlet.
The state of Montana loosened regulations for hunting and trapping wolves across the state last year, reported ABC News. Ranchers in Montana pushed for the changes to reduce wolf populations that prey on large animals, including livestock. (RELATED: Idaho Might Be Set To Kill Up To 90% Of Its Wolf Population With Legislation That Includes Night-Vision Equipment)
Gianforte was given a warning in February 2021 for trapping and shooting a wolf with a radio collar roughly 10 miles north of Yellowstone without taking the required trapper education course, The Washington Post reported. The wolf had been born in Yellowstone in 2014.