Remembering Limpy: The Life and Death of Wolf 253


Limpy – Wolf 253/Steve Justad

March 16, 2015

On March 28, 2008, almost seven years ago, a cherished Druid Peak pack wolf,  nick-named Limpy, was shot dead outside Daniel,Wyoming.  It happened on the day wolves, in the Northern Rockies, lost their ESA protections for the first time by the then Bush Administration. 

“He died for nothing”  said Lake City resident Marlene Foard.  A senseless death for a beloved wolf.

RIP Limpy – we remember and miss you!

Here is Limpy’s story told  by the


The life and death of wolf 253

Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2008 12:00 am


A wolf died the other day in Wyoming. Along with three others, it was shot and killed on the first day that wolves in most of the state lost the protection of the Endangered Species Act. These were legal kills made by people simply because they could. Nothing more was required of them but to report the kills to state officials – no license, no fees, no restrictions.

For sportsmen, one of the proudly held rules is: “Know Your Target.” What did these hunters know about their targets?

One of the four dead wolves was a female that may have been pregnant. Two of the males were unknown and will be remembered simply as body count numbers in the West’s war on wolves. But one wolf has a history known to many throughout the region. To some he was “Limpy,” to others he was “The Wanderer.” Officially, he was 253M, the 253rd wolf to be radio-collared in the Greater Yellowstone area since wolves were reintroduced in the mid-90s.

253M was born in April 2000 into the Druid Peak Pack, whose territory encompasses Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley. His father was likely 21M, a leader of renown and a story unto himself. 21M was one of the first generation of wolves born in Yellowstone in more than 60 years.

253M was black, as are nearly half of Yellowstone’s wolves. Before he was two, he was injured defending his territory from intruders from a nearby pack. Although the Druids held their territory, 253M’s left hind leg was injured, causing a life-long limp distinguishing him from other wolves.

In the fall of 2002, he left his home territory, typical behavior for wolves of that age. Later that fall, on Nov. 30, 253M was accidentally caught in a trap set for coyotes about 20 miles northeast of Salt Lake City, making him the first confirmed wolf in Utah in more than 70 years. Tracks around the site suggested that he was traveling with another wolf – perhaps they were a pair exploring for a place to begin a new life.

253M was taken back to Wyoming and released three days later by a federal biologist south of Yellowstone Park. He made his way back to the Druid Pack before Christmas, surprising the “experts,” who thought he would immediately head back south.

This second time around, he remained with the Druids for nearly two years and rose to the level of second-ranking male – subordinate only to the now-famous, but aging, 21M. In the summer of 2004, 21M died, and most observers thought that 253M would take over as leader of the Druids. But again, he managed to fool the experts and waged only a minor battle with “New Black,” as the victor and new Druid leader came to be known.

Immediately after New Black assumed his alpha status, 253M broke from the pack and began wandering about Yellowstone, mostly undetected, only to unexpectedly appear on the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole – 90 miles south of his birthplace – alone, but looking healthy.

It was in early 2005 that 253M may have fathered his only offspring. He was observed with another male and female, and 5 pups, forming the new Flat Creek Pack. But within a year, 253M again headed south, and the Flat Creek Pack dissolved. The cause of the sudden disintegration of this new pack will never be known. Was 253M simply living up to one of his names, The Wanderer?

Meanwhile, the Daniel Pack, which roamed across a mix of ranching and wild lands 60 miles southeast of Jackson, was implicated in cattle depredations and thus under constant surveillance and control. Sometime in the next year or so, 253M found his way into this persecuted pack.

During his eight years of travel across thousands of miles and at least two states, 253M was never accused of any destruction of human property. He was a “good wolf” – one who adapted to his human-dominated world. The kind of wolf we should be able to live with.

But on the morning of March 28, his luck ran out. Not because of anything he did, but because of what a minority of people in Wyoming wanted – to take all protection off wolves in 88 percent of the state, where anyone can now kill any wolf by any means at any time. 253M and three others were killed for nothing more than being wolves in Wyoming’s politically designated predator zone.

253M and other wolves are now dead in Wyoming because some don’t want wolves in the Equality State.

Now we “Know The Target.” What have we learned?

Franz Camenzind is executive director of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance.


Click the video to watch on YouTube

August 16, 2011

This video is a treasure I found by chance, a beautiful narration by Brian Connolly of the life and death of wolf 253M. It is so moving you will be brought to tears.

Limpy was the inspiration for this blog.  He was the perfect wolf in my mind’s eye, a member of the iconic Druid Peak Pack, who once ruled Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley.

Brian, I don’t know you but thanks  for your beautiful ode to Limpy, who gave pleasure to so many. A wolf, who over came the adversity of injury but was killed for nothing in the name of blood sport.

Rest in peace dear, dear wolf 253M

Limpy- steve justad 2006

For the wolves, For Limpy,


Howling For Justice is dedicated to wolf 253.


Beloved ‘Wolf 253′ killed in Wyoming

Limpy KSL dot com Utah

April 2, 2008

John Hollenhorst reporting

One of the nation’s most famous and beloved wolves has been killed. Someone in Wyoming shot him, along with two other wolves, apparently the very day the Bush Administration lifted legal protections.



Top Photos: Courtesy Steve Justad

Bottom Photo: Courtesy KSLdotcomUtah

Video:  Courtesy YouTube Brian Connolly

Posted in: wolf 253,  Endangered Species Act,  Wolf wars

Tags: Endangered Species Act, wolf intolerance, blood lust, Limpy, Wolf 253, Druid Peak Pack, RIP Limpy, KSLdotcomUtah, Brian Connolly,

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21 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Did Lin O’Dell shot this endangered species?


    • I don’t know the name of the shooter but I don’t think it would be hard to find out. Limpy’s dead broke many, many hearts.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  2. No wolf deserves to die because of ignorance or hatred or fear. I will never understand why ESA protections were lifted in the first place. I will forever stand for wolves and speak for them. LEAVE THESE AMAZING ANIMALS ALONE.


  3. yes I remember


  4. Judgement Day is coming. Limpy and all the other innocent wolves who were ever murdered by these evildoers will be Witnesses for the Prosecution before God. And the charges against them will stand.

    Until that day, rest in peace dear Limpy. Rest in peace all of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Killed because some psychopath wanted a dead wolf to look at and stroke their ego over having killed him. I won’t call the remains a trophy because that would take away the respect for the life lost.



    Liked by 1 person

  7. From a historic perspective it is not difficult to see some parallels between the treatment of Indian peoples in the past century to the current thinking concerning the treatment of wolves . Parallel reasoning offered is that wolves simply need to be gotten rid of, they compete for need food resources, they breed to frequently, they represent a past that is gone, if they stayed on the reservation they would not be killed, if they became domesticated it would be better for them, and they might attack our children and are prone to getting hungry and unpredictable when starved. The wolf defines an animal that competes well yet has no inherent right to exist as created. People have rights inherent to take, buy, travel, build, eat and reproduce when they want. The wolf has neither of these rights. Instead, while there are probably 700 wolves in Idaho there are some 1.3 million people who with their life style and rights just might go extinct.


  8. Very sad for Limpy and Romeo and all the rest, dead because of stupid, mean-spirited, substandard members humanity. May the spirits of all the wild ones run free forever.


    • We’ve lost so many ahimsaforever, Alabaster, the beautiful alpha female of the White Hawk pack and her puppies, the Hog Heaven Pack, The Sage Creek Pack, the 06 Female, the Cottonwood Pack alphas and their daughter and on and on. It’s been brutal.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  9. Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game.


  10. It truly is a mental illness, which is worth psychiatry investigating. It is NOT normal. It is outside the realm of the natural order. Thank you Bryan and Nabeki for this beautiful tribute to our brother Limpy.


  11. Thank you for sharing!!! My heart tort apart again one more time. So sad ! We should band hunting and trapping at all!!


  12. Well, that just broke my heart! Why can’t they just leave them alone! I hate them for doing this! One day soon, they will get their revenge! God Bless All Animals, especially the wolves! Dirty Bastards!!!! ❤


  13. The wolf is tragic symbol of long-time, entrenched hatred, bigotry, by the Livestock/Hunting Industry–notice I blend these two together, because many are one and the same. and in many areas, they are actually forming active coalitions. The public lands (wilderness, national forests, BLM, grasslands, state lands), are grazed to the bone by the Livestock Industry, where native wild animals are slaughtered and rounded up (as with wild mustangs), to make room for cattle/sheep. Also, there is a federal bill being pushed by pro-hunting/ranching politicians which will open even more public lands to hunting. We must understand that there are real Enemies out there, who have a persistent, dedicated agenda, and they do not compromise. That is what we “wildlife people” need to come to grips with, and stop compromising with these folk. Public lands, which are the last refuge for wildlife, have become Domesticated Feed Lots. We are not “winning the battle” for wildlife. Wildlife are losing, as long as make any excuses for hunting or ranching in the 21st century. If ranchers want to ranch, they need to do it on their private lands, period.


  14. I would be remiss to say that i’m just devastated at the wander’s death
    ..i lived in tucson from 1998 to 2000….i was totally involved with the re’instated or the reintroduction of the grey wolves …i have been following since…i knew the druid Pac real well …until the wanderer came into the picture…he went from one pack, stole some females, and still wandered away…then..the new black, and surprised he became alpha. ..iwas eexcited of his fatherhood…just devastated that it was the same day….it became my worst nightmare ….open season….well…have a peaceful week. .still broken hearted 253m….
    regards, mary


    • I hear you Mary, we’ve lost so many wonderful wolves over these many years, whole wolf packs named and unnamed. I loved Limpy because he overcame adversity and lived a full life until someone in their arrogance took it away. I’ll never, ever understand how anyone could kill a sentient being like Limpy for no other reason than the thrill of taking a life. It’s like trying to understand an alien from a distant planet.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  15. So,so sad. I’ll never understand why killing comes so easily to some people and why they enjoy it so much. It distrurbs me and haunts me and I wish they could wake up and truly understand what they are doing. Great Blog!!


  16. I’ve always had a great deal of respect for farmers and ranchers, but since learning of their hatred for wildlife and their lining the pockets of certain politicians to keep the ESA from being, I have lost that respect. I agree with Rosemary in that public land should not be given to farmers or ranchers to use for their livestock. Wildlife should be allowed to roam free on this land and not be trapped, shot, snared, hunted, or gassed because certain parties love to kill them. These people should not even be allowed to own a gun or license for any kind of hunting. They truly are not normal thinking humans.


    • Thanks Susan. Increasing numbers of people are fed up with the public lands ranching industry. Some of my relatives were farmer/ranchers, and they slaughtered everything–I have a couple of red-neck cousins, bear hunters, who go to Canada to kill–I have never seen or talked with them since I was little. This environmentally destructive industry turns wild lands into Domestic Feed Lots. We just came back from 5 days in southern Utah–beautiful country–but everywhere livestock roam “open range” –on BLM land, right up to the National Parks. Unless we end public lands ranching (it will be a battle, but worth it), no wolves, coyotes or other innocent native animals will ever find peace. We once saw Limpy with the Druid pack in Lamar Valley. May his beautiful soul be revenged someday soon.


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