Looking Back: Remembering The Sage Creek Pack..

May 27, 2012

The Sage Creek Pack was eliminated by aerial gunners in 2009.  It was a huge loss. Yellowstone wolves are genetically isolated, the  Sage Creek Pack could have provided them with important genetics but that means nothing to the wolf killers. Wildlife Services was aerial gunning wolves even as the first wolf hunt was taking place outside the park, which decimated the famed Cottonwood pack.

“The Sage Creek Pack roamed the Centennial Mountains between Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho – precisely in the area that could alleviate genetic isolation through the influx of wolves from Idaho and the possibility (for now, lost with the pack’s demise) of yearlings making their way into Yellowstone.”

Sage Creek Pack Wiped Out By Aerial Gunners in Montana

October 9, 2012

Aerial gunners wiped out the remaining four members of the Sage Creek Pack, which will serve to further genetically isolate Yellowstone’s wolves. The Center for Biological Diversity issued a statement concerning this outrageous event. This pack was originally targeted because it killed ONE SHEEP!!

“The initial cause for the destruction of the eight-member Sage Creek Pack was its predation on a single sheep on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sheep Experiment Station, which grazes thousands of sheep on more than 100,000 acres in Montana and Idaho”

It always comes back to grazing livestock on public lands and who pays the price? The Wolf!

Montana FWP recently closed the backcountry area WMU-3 (which encompasses the wilderness outside of Yellowstone) in part due to the loss of nine wolves in that area, including the Cottonwood Pack. This pack was part of ongoing research on Yellowstone’s famous wolves. The hunts eliminated the pack because buffer zones were not in place for the wolves, who can’t read boundary signs. Their only crime was leaving the protection of the park. So that’s two wolf packs gone in a matter of weeks. One lost to hunters and the other to FWP aerial gunners.

For Immediate Release, October 9, 2009

Aerial Gunning of Wolf Pack in Montana Isolates Yellowstone Wolves, Undermines Recovery

SILVER CITY, N.M.— This week’s aerial gunning of the last four members of the Sage Creek wolf pack in southwestern Montana contributes to the genetic isolation of wolves in Yellowstone National Park – even as, on Thursday, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks commission suspended the public wolf-hunting season near Yellowstone in order not to isolate the national park’s wolves.

Said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity: “We are saddened by the loss of the Sage Creek Pack. Suspending the permitted wolf-hunting season near Yellowstone will not be enough to save these animals as long as the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to gun down entire packs from the air.”

The initial cause for the destruction of the eight-member Sage Creek Pack was its predation on a single sheep on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sheep Experiment Station, which grazes thousands of sheep on more than 100,000 acres in Montana and Idaho.

In 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project sued the sheep station for its failure to disclose the impacts of, and analyze alternatives to, its operations, which has occurred in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. The sheep station settled the lawsuit with an agreement to disclose and analyze and to decide its future via a public process.

“The USDA Sheep Experiment Station is undermining gray-wolf recovery and should be shut down,” said Robinson.

Genetic isolation of the Yellowstone wolves, which may be exacerbated through the federal killing of the Sage Creek Pack, is at issue in a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies seeking to place wolves back on the endangered species list after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed them from the list this spring. Such genetic isolation was part of what led a federal court, in July 2008, to order the relisting of wolves after a previous delisting action.

The Sage Creek Pack roamed the Centennial Mountains between Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho – precisely in the area that could alleviate genetic isolation through the influx of wolves from Idaho and the possibility (for now, lost with the pack’s demise) of yearlings making their way into Yellowstone.

A 1994 environmental impact statement on wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone and central Idaho identified genetic exchange between sub-populations as key to wolf recovery.


Top photo: kewlwallpapersdotcom

Photo courtesy James Balog/www.goagro.org

Categories posted in: aerial gunning of wolves, biodiversity, Wolf Wars, Yellowstone Wolves

Tags: wolves or livestock, aerial gunning of wolves, wolf intolerance

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31 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Why?I can’t understand why people kills this nice animal? Shame!!


  2. No words to express…. yet another slaughter and massacre of wolves, more deaths to children and civilians in Afghanistan and Syria yesterday, marches in Quebec. Yet worldwide marches show citizens gaining strength. Repilian males and their governments will not prevail against light and progress, I believe this.

    Notes from research on ID:
    _Idaho will be a tough nut to crack with KKK Sheriff’s in office:
    (Affiliations with KKK and NeoNazi’s common.)
    _Idaho is %#$ed as the SE has groundwater pollution producing
    misformed trout, with livestock and elk deaths, from Simplot (mining corporation). Simplot was pushing to mine towards the Yellowstone area. Will have to see how this played out.
    _ According to ID agriculture site almost 100% of this years Idaho sugar beet crop is Monsanto GMO.

    Until we can find avenue to prevent more. With KKK, Monsanto, Simplot active in the state and the low education level of general populous, it looks to be uphill. Dig in your heels. What few wolves remain, may they be spared somehow.

    I do wish that the animal and ecological .orgs would collectively sue the FWS and all states that decimated almost 80% of all wolf populations in one year of the de listing and demand that Salazar be removed from office.


    • Can you please generate a petition for us to sign?


      • Dana, I believe the only way to save the remaining wolves in the Northern Rockies is to relist them and put them back under federal protection. The wolves are headed for a second Western extermination if something isn’t done and soon. How we get to relisting is another story. We lost in the courts, now it’s up to the people to speak out and boycott the wolf states. But we need much more. If we don’t build a strong grass roots movement with advocates actively participating and demanding the killing stop then these wolves are going to go the way of the last extirpated wolves.



      • Dana…If I do a petition it’s going to demand the relisting of gray wolves, that’s their only hope. BUT we need a hundred thousand signatures or more to make a difference. Petitions with a few thousand signatures go no where. Even though I have two up on the blog right now, I’m losing hope with petitions. We petition and the wolf haters are taking over state governments, pushing their agendas through with all the support in the world. We have a huge mountain to climb to make a difference for these persecuted, maligned magnificent animals.



  3. It does not take much in the way of BRAINS to point a weapon at a helpless, scared animal.This animal is not deliberately trying to do anything wrong, he is just doing as nature directs him.He and his family are hungry and nature tells him to hunt. It is such a shame for supposedly educated people to act as unfair and ruthless as these people are.. These are not the actions of NORMAL PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. the food livestock idustry damages are everywhere. billions of animals live in man made hell; wild life destoyed, more and more land needed to grow food for the misrable animals that are brought in to the world for the only purpose of dying, the amazonas being cleared for cattle, the earth poluted – and all for gastronomic pleasure. but how dare a wolf who unlike us has no eating alternatives, kill one sheep. he will pay with his life. this is human morality, in whose name people claime the right to take life from other animals, because they don’t understand our higher morality. so ugly


  5. This was totally unnecessary – a senseless, unspeakable tragedy.


  6. We must all put pressure on the federal government to demolish “Wildlife Services”. The rogue federal agency, with methods that are not only barbaric, but have been conclusively proven NOT TO WORK, serves not the animals or the people, but a small group of ranchers that are themselves taking advantage of low cost BLM land leases. Most of them don’t operate financially self sustaining business and should be let alone to die off.

    What can you do? Sign this petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/378/318/356/us-wildlife-services-stop-waging-war-on-our-wildlife/

    Share it. Write to Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior and tell him that you want this agency defunded. If congress wants to save money, stop funding paid wildlife killers!


  7. This is so very sad and sickening! The wolves in Denali Park in Alaska need our help right now – please sign this petition for them to put the buffer zone back around the park and stop wolf hunting this year there because an inhuman lured the ONLY BREEDING FEMALE WHO WAS PREGNANT out of the park by killing his horse and setting a snare/trap…she suffered for a week before he found her….they say what he did was legal!?! but they are checking into a possible water violation from the horse carcass?!? This means that there will be no pups born this year in that pack in that park….and their numbers were already dwindling….so infuriating….



  8. It is unbelievable that anyone can kill so indiscriminately, especially when mankind has so much knowledge now.

    The Dire Wolf and Gray Wolf existed together for approximately 1.79 million years, and then the Dire wolf vanished. Both were most common in North America and South America. The first specimen of the Dire Wolf was found in Evansville, Indiana in the summer of 1854, when the Ohio River was quite low. The specimen, a fossilized jawbone, was obtained by Joseph Granville Norwood from an Evansville collector named Francis A. Linck. Norwood, who at that time was the first state geologist of Illinois. He sent it to Joseph Leidy at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, who assigned the name Canis dirus, in a publication in 1858.

    Although scientists are not sure why the Dire Wolf became extinct, there will be no such doubt regarding the gray wolf.


  9. Please fall out of your helicopter on your pointy head.


  10. Why kill one that lives!!


  11. sheep? one?? I just do not get it and never have – been trying since the 70’s! although I have been turned into a radical vegetarian!


    • Shame on all who kills shame on the people who stand by and seems to be happy about it


  12. I agree with Chad. I’ve been harping to the Sierra Club and others that they should join forces and sic the Earthjustice lawyers on Fish and Game. Well , they all have watered down excuses. We have the same problem in Wi. with anti government people.- the’ posse comotose’. That’s what I call them.


  13. So tired of being Nice and trying to reason with these cruel mean spirited Devils.. .. that are NOT Human in my eyes.. some of the meanest PEople alive are the only ones that would go out and shoot helpless WIld animals not bothering anyone… Kind of like the Generals who ordered WOmen and CHildren to be slaughtered NATIVES back in the GOld Rush. IS this not the same behavior just another time only this time it is Helpless animals FOR GODS SAKE STOP THEM SOMEONE> WE have all seen enough this yr.. my eyes and my heart HURT FROM ALL THAT HAS TAKEN PLACE> Stop KILLING OUR NATIONAL TREASURE THE WOLVES.


    • I agree Ellen, the states cannot be reasoned with. But we all knew this from the beginning. They have waited for 16 years to take over the “management” of wolves, so they could kill them. This reminds me of Selma, Alabama. The level of hate and disgusting behavior is out of control. The wolves must be relisted or they have no chance. That is what we have to work toward and we need to unite and speak with one voice, not a hundred different voices saying different things. Our movement is divided while the wolf haters are united and have the backing of millions of dollars from the hunting and ranching lobbies. We’ve always depended on the big environmental groups to bail wolves out. Now we have to do the heavy lifting.



  14. Interesting question in today’s posting, “Who pays the price? The wolf!” But wait a minute. In the literal sense, we too pay the $$$ price: Our tax dollars cover the expenses of the craven cowards who run this entire shoddy operation, from Salizar’s and Obama’s paychecks, to those of each and every dimwitted little wildlife agent in the employ of our government. Also consider the significant cost of purchasing and supplying fuel for planes and land vehicles, as well as guns, ammunition, poisons. Let’s not forget incidental expenses which probably add up to millions, for cost of living stipends, office supplies, accommodations, meal catering (especially if the big cheeses show up from DC for meetings with, say, Idaho F&W). There must be public records somewhere that can divulge the dollar amounts of some of these bills. If not public records, does anyone out there know a whistle-blower? There are so many in the capitol.

    If we just mourn with each other, we are woefully remiss in ignoring the power we ought to have as taxpayers and voters. Let’s hope we are not too late to overcome the sleazy politics of natural gas fracturing, which I fear is behind most of these efforts to eliminate wildlife. Can we get to the heart of the issue? Statistics indicate that rescue efforts must now focus on removal of the few remaining wolves to safe compounds where they will be able to survive and breed for a few generations before being re-released into a kinder world. The work we did 20 years ago is now down the tubes. But we did it once, so we can do it again, provided there will be any clean wilderness areas left after hydrofracking.


  15. I have no doubts that Nation after Nation is searching and looking for every source of oil and gas that it can, anywhere it can and will stop at nothing to do so. This is an unfortunate consequence of our lifestyles and the need for governments to keep the lights on and retain their independence on fossil fuels from any non friendly or co-operative country. Wildlife comes a long way down the list for them and quite frankly for most consumers too, unless someone can wake them up and show them the error of their ways and that it is US who hold the keys to the castle, not the collusive agencies and governments who have, unfortunately, sold their souls to the devil and got into bed with huge corporations who want to control the supply lines of energy and food; see Monsanto and to some extent with the press, see the UK Leverson enquiry into the press, with Rupert Murdoch’s News International at its heart, who surprise, has ‘Fox tv’ as his ‘interest’.

    I think it will take a huge shift in conciousness by the common man (and women, especially women; a million men marching may be confrontational, a million women and children marching, would a democratic government dare expose themselves to suppressing them?) to begin to turn around the huge monetary, political will that we are faced with.

    It’s been done before, but the future of our children is now at stake.


    • kaufmans123

      You can see how they treated the demonstrators in Chicago, that was a direct assault on our ability to assemble and protest . They are trying to label animal rights activists and other activists who disagree with the rape of our natural world, as radicals. Yet it’s the other way around, it’s not the pro wolf people or animal rights people who are the bullies, it’s the greedy elites who will stop at nothing to get what they want, the environment be damned.



      • Yes Nabeki, hence my parallel with the sixties in a previous post, when the government and friends attacked change and protest, MLK, Rachel Carson was vilified, Kent State, they use fear as a tactic and materialism allied to human desire and the ‘pursuit of happiness’ as drugs as in a Brave New World, ‘soma’ for the masses to keep us quiet. We just have to wake up and awaken enough people to a tipping point, when change is inevitable. Its a brave person who puts him or herself on the line to protest, but if there’s a clear message and resilience people will respond, but I think the wolf is part of the bigger picture, as indeed he is in life, but its tough for people to relate to nature with the disconnection they have the problems they have in the current economic climate, its easier to turn away.
        Yet when I scan many websites about the environment and such, the comments section is full of people who care and are disturbed by what is going on. From somewhere a leader is needed and coalitions made.


      • kaufmans123

        I think the wolf is the canary in the mine. It’s a warning to all that apex predators around the world are being destroyed. It’s not a coincidence this is happening, not only are we killing them but we’re destroying their habitat, which really is our habitat. I always look at the mess Haiti is, it’s completely deforested. It’s a terribly poor country but what makes us think in 50 years down the road our country won’t look like that? Ten years ago only 6 percent of old growth trees stood in the lower forty eight, it’s probably 2 percent now. There is a drum-beat from the right to drill, drill, drill. Fracking has the ability to destroy our aquifers but they pay no attention. It’s not just the wolves, the very existence of life on earth is threatened by the stupidity of mankind.

        For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  16. I’m just curious as to why the U.S. government has never told the wealthy ranchers in both Montana and Idaho to either buy the public lands where they graze their sheep and cattle or keep their animals secure on their own private property. There are many activities that the Feds consider illegal activity(s) by private parties on public property!!! Public property belongs to EVERY U.S. citizen……not exclusively to ranchers!!!


  17. Public lands belong to all U.S. citizens, the flora/fauna that exist on the lands, including all wildlife that occupies those lands!!! When are the hot shot hunters going to attempt trapping, snaring, and shooting other human beings because they happen to be in “wolf inhabited areas”???


  18. How terrible to know an entire wolf pack was wiped out. How stupid and cruel…


  19. I’ve been reading this blog for some time now, and occassionally I will even comment. But, I do not ever recall seeing the following here. I was watching an old “Wild America” show on wolves, and one thing led to another and I stumbled on the blog Coyotes, Wolves and Cougars. A little ways down, there is an article about the delisting and massacre of the wolves in Minnesota (sound familiar?). Anyway, there seems to be a different campaign to fight the ignorant politicians and ranchers. They are asking for we defenders to just buy up the hunting licenses. If we could buy them all up, then the ignorants would be hunting without licenses. Not perfect, but a start in another direction maybe.

    Anyway, I thought it was a novel idea to fight back that I hadn’t heard of before.


  20. If we don’t stop the hunter that are killing these animals soon the world will have no wolves if we don’t have them then all the pest that we don’t want will breed and breed until all the grasslands will be wrecked people have be killing then for years and that to long:(


  21. There will always be cowards walking among us. You will not see these people fighting for their country because a real Man will would only shot at something endangering his family or friends. Or unless killing for food. Most do it for Ego.
    If wolves could shot back these cowards would be hiding under a log.
    Would you see these guys taking on a pack of wolves, unarmed or even a single wolf
    No they hide in helicopters or use rifles at a distance then boast at the local bar.
    As i said there will always be cowards walking among us until we continue to allow them in our homes.


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