Remembering Yellowstone’s Cottonwood Pack….

yellowstones 527

Photo: Wolf 527, killed on Buffalo Plateau on Oct. 3. Credit: Dan Stahler / National Parks Service

July 21, 2014

There was great sadness over the killing of the 06 Female, one of the most famous wolves ever to grace Yellowstone National  Park. But long before her untimely death, another equally famous Yellowstone wolf met the same fate years earlier.  527f, the alpha female of Yellowstone’s Cottonwood Pack, was gunned down outside the park by a hunter’s bullet along with her equally famous daughter and mate. This happened mere months after the Obama administration removed ESA protections for wolves and handed them over to hostile state governments, in Montana and Idaho.
I want to pay tribute to these amazing wolves and others like them, as the tragedy of Obama’s failed policies continue to wreak havoc on wolves and other wildlife.
October 25, 2009

 Yellowstone’s famous Cottonwood pack Alpha female, 527, fell to  a hunter’s bullet outside the park at the beginning of Montana’s wolf hunt

Montana wolf hunt is stalked by controversy

The demise of a much-studied pack raises questions about lifting the hunting ban in areas bordering Yellowstone park.

October 25, 2009|Kim Murphy

GARDINER, MONT. — Wolf 527 was a survivor. She lived through a rival pack’s crippling 12-day siege of her den. When another pair of wolves laid down stakes in her territory, she killed the mother and picked off the pups while the invader’s mate howled nearby in frustration and fury.

She was not a charmer. But successful wolves are not known for their geniality. She was large and black and wary — and cruel when she needed to be. As the alpha female of the Cottonwood Creek pack, she also was equipped with a radio collar so wildlife biologists could track her movements, making her one of Yellowstone National Park’s best-known wolves.

 Then she ventured outside the park boundaries.

Wolf 527 was killed Oct. 3 by a hunter on Buffalo Plateau north of Yellowstone, less than three weeks into Montana’s back country elk season. Wolves often stalk elk outside the park and are attracted by entrails the hunters leave behind. But this year, the elk season coincided with the opening of the state’s first wolf hunt in modern times.

“She was a genius wolf in her tactics,” said Laurie Lyman, a former San Diego County teacher who has spent the last five years tracking the recovery of the endangered gray wolves that were reintroduced into Yellowstone in 1995. “Her strategies were just unbelievable. She knew how to survive anything, but she didn’t know how to survive a man with a gun.”

Park officials believe four of the Cottonwood pack’s 10 wolves — including 527′s mate, the alpha male, and her daughter — died during those first weeks, in effect ending research into one of the park’s most important study groups.

“Whether the pack exists anymore or not, to us the pack is gone,” said Doug Smith, the biologist in charge of the Yellowstone reintroduction program that helped bring wolves back from the brink of extinction in the Northern Rockies. Cottonwood “was a key pack on the northern range,” he said, giving researchers a window into the existence of animals that had little or no interaction with humans.

State wildlife officials, caught off guard by the ease with which the wolves were cut down, called off the backcountry hunt along a section of Yellowstone’s northern boundary for the rest of the year.

But the general wolf hunting season opens today throughout much of the rest of Montana, including other areas bordering the 3,468-square-mile park. Wildlife advocates have sought, so far unsuccessfully, a buffer zone to protect Yellowstone’s storied wolf packs.

With more than 1,600 wolves now in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, state officials are allowing hunters this year to take up to 75 in Montana and 220 in Idaho. Federal protections remain in Wyoming.

“We’ve got quite a number of other border packs. So people need to decide how hunting’s going to occur on the park boundaries,” Smith said. “Whose wolves are they? Are they national wolves? Montana wolves? And we have to decide what is the value of our research on wolf populations that are not affected by people.”

Read more:

Photo: Courtesy Dan Stahler / National Parks Service

Categories posted in: Yellowstone wolves, Wolf Wars

Tags: Montana wolf hunt, Yellowstone wolves, wolf myths, 06 Female, Lamar Canyon Pack,  Cottonwood Pack, 527f, hunters kill famous Yellowstone wolves

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. They all died because some people decided it was ok and what’s the universal verdict? UItimately if it is legal mustn’t be wrong, right?
    The people responsible couldn’t possibly be bad people right?
    It is frustrating that people these days still *don’t account for their actions, they don’t think beyond what they want and how their actions affect others. They have this mindset that if they can do something that alone makes it the right thing to do.
    Just for a few decades can the human race, just for once, use this so-called intelligence and lauded overactive sense of compassion we seem so damn proud of?

    *The rationale goes like this: It is not a bad thing because I and I am not [read: I do not think I am] a bad person.


    • Correction:
      The rationale goes like this: It is not a bad thing because I do it and I am not [read: I do not think I am] a bad person.


  2. It’s a difficult reality to accept that such frustrating ignorance.continues. How long before the light comes on in these dim brains or the wolves’ beauty touches these cold hearts?


  3. “The Greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness. Its one object is to produce and consume.
    It has pity neither for beautiful nature nor for living human beings. It is ruthlessly ready without a moment’s hesitation to crush beauty and life.”
    George Eliot


  4. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope ”
    Martin Luther King

    Wildlife are relegated to the back of the bus, but we can continue to work on their behalf !
    To the memory of all the fallen ones … We love you all … We will stop this ignorance


  5. Just when the caterpillar thought that darkness was closing in and life was ending… It became a butterfly.
    Life has ended for too many amazing and innocent wolves before their time, as it has for so many innocent, persecuted humans, too.
    And we don’t know how long it will take to turn things around for wolves, for more respectful and compassionate policies for wolves and other persecuted wild beings, but the only way we will succeed for them and for us is to keep fighting for them, smarter, more creatively and with more determination.


  6. There’s gotta be a better way to re-list wolves and protect them than what we’re doing now.

    There’s gotta be a way.


  7. Wolves, the pride of Nature, the pride of your country, are killed one by one, without respecting the efforts of so many kind people who raised and restored them to chosen habitats, having so many expectations that they will thrive than being destroyed just like that.


  8. We are certainly not helpless on this matter of trophy hunting of park wolves. Please act today!


  9. That guys a bad ass


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