Oregon’s Shame – OR4 And His Family Aerial Gunned For The Sacred Cow….

OR4 ODFW

April 3, 2016

Death rained down on OR4 and his family from the ODFW helicopter-death-ships last Thursday, March 31, 2016. I can’t imagine the terror he felt along with his mate, OR39, nicknamed Limpy, due to a damaging leg injury. It was like shooting ducks in a barrel, an old wolf and his crippled mate with their two terrified pups, trying to evade bullets coming from the sky. To me they represent every wolf who has ever been senselessly  killed for the sacred cow. Ranchers know wolves are a miniscule  threat to their bottom line, the main killer of cattle is non-predation, the main predator of cattle are coyotes and domestic dogs.  But facts don’t matter when it comes to wolves, they’re relentlessly demonized.

I can’t tell you the sadness I feel over this killing.  OR4 was a symbol of everything I thought was right about wolves returning to Oregon. He and his first mate, B-300, nicknamed Sophie, swam the Snake River from Idaho to form the first wolf pack to inhabit Oregon in sixty years. They were named the Imnaha Pack. OR4 and B-300 sired many pups, including the legendary OR7 and were the backbone of wolf recovery in Oregon.

Ranching is the single biggest threat to wolves in the Northern Rockies.  Wolves are harassed throughout their lives because of ranching and hunting. They tolerate endless collarings, just as OR4 did. It was a miracle he lived to be 10 years old, a real feat since he had several kill orders out on him during his life. Instead of  Oregon treasuring him for the amazing wolf he was, they filled him full of lead as their final tribute. This killing will forever be Oregon’s shame!

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Oregon Just Killed a Family of Wolves

Imnaha Pack Alpha Male OR4

TakePart.com 12 hours ago

The bullet he’d been dodging for many years finally caught up with the great Oregon wolf, OR4, on March 31. In the early afternoon, officials from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife shot to death the patriarch of the Imnaha Pack from a helicopter over Wallowa County, an area where gray wolves dispersing from Idaho first began returning to Oregon, where they’d been killed off in the mid-20th century. Shot along with OR4 was his likely pregnant partner, OR 39, known as Limpy for an injured and badly healed leg, and their two pups.

The animals were killed for being presumed guilty of the deaths of four calves and a sheep on private pastureland on the fringes of the pack’s territory in northeast Oregon.

Rob Klavins, who has been a wolf advocate on the frontlines of the cultural and political battles that have accompanied the reemergence of wolves in the West as field coordinator for the conservation group Oregon Wild, heard the helicopters take off and knew the sound spelled doom for OR4. “It was hard for a lot of people,” said Klavins, reached on Friday at his home near the town of Joseph in Wallowa County. “Even some of his detractors had a begrudging respect” for OR4, the fourth wolf to be fitted with a location-tracking radio collar in Oregon. He weighed at least 115 pounds, the largest known wolf in Oregon at the time of his death, and survived for 10 years, three years longer than most wolves in the wild.

OR4 and his progeny have been largely responsible for the gray wolf’s intrepid return to lands where the species was long ago hunted, poisoned, trapped, burned, and otherwise chased nearly to extinction.

Cattle farmers, who receive a subsidy from taxpayers to graze their animals on vast ranges of publicly-owned land where the wolves also dwell, worry about wolves killing their property. Hunters want first shot at the game, such as deer and elk, that wolves favor. But livestock depredations in Oregon are extremely rare, and have become scarcer even as the wolf population has increased. Meanwhile, ODFW’s data shows that Oregon’s wolves are having no effect on elk, deer, and wild sheep populations. Of course, those statistics are small consolation to the rancher who suffered the loss of property in March.

In early 2008, OR4 and his mate at the time, OR2, were among the first wolves to swim the Snake River, scale enormous mountains, and establish a foothold for wolves in game-rich Wallowa County. Since then, more than 110 Oregon wolves have spread from the remote northeast corner of the state, over the Cascades, and to near the California border. Many of these pioneering wolves were spawned by OR4.

Beginning with his first pack in 2009, OR4 fathered, provided for, and protected dozens of wolf pups that survived in the Oregon wild—and made their way all the way south to California, where OR7, known as the “lone wolf, trekked in 2012. Today, OR7 has his own pack in the California-Oregon border region. The alpha female of the Shasta pack—the first gray wolf pack to make California home since 1924—is the offspring of OR4.

That OR4 lasted this long is source of wonder to those who have followed his starring role in Oregon’s gray-wolf comeback story. In 2011, a brief cattle-killing spree by the Imnaha pack had him slated for execution. A suit by Oregon Wild and other conservation groups stayed the execution order and OR4 settled into a mostly incident-free life as Oregon’s biggest and baddest-ass wolf.

There is good reason to believe OR4 was cast out of his pack early this year, and his decision to move into livestock calving ground was borne of the need of an old, slowing, and dull-toothed male—no longer able to bring down elk—to fend for his hobbled mate, to whom he was endearingly loyal, and his yearling pups.

“He was an outlaw wolf with a heart of gold,” said Amaroq Weiss, the West Coast Wolf Coordinator for the Center for Biological Diversity. Weiss recalled a 2009 video of OR4 leading his Imnaha pack up a snowy mountainside as a defining image from the early days of Oregon’s wolf recovery. “He was definitely a father figure.”

The Shasta Pack that is part of OR’s legacy will soon be coming into its second litter. It is protected by the California Endangered Species Act. In Oregon, though, wolves were removed from the endangered species list in November, which allowed OR4’s pack to be shot to death Thursday. Activists have sued to re-list the animals.

The wolf management plan that provided the legal justification for the killing of OR4, Limpy, and their pups is up for review in Oregon this year. The state has determined that the wolf population met benchmarks that allow livestock producers more lethal options when dealing with depredating wolves. Klavins and others would like to make sure the updated plan calls for every non-lethal option to be exhausted before wolves are killed.

“What was done [Thursday] was sufficient for an agency that views wildlife as agents of damage and whose primary job is to protect private interests at taxpayer expense,” Klavins said. “But it’s not good enough for a public agency whose mission is to ‘protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations,’ ” he continued, quoting from the agency’s official documents. “They need to do better. Oregonians deserve better.”

Wolf advocate Wally Sykes is one of the few to have encountered OR4 in the wild. “I was kind of initially prepared for something to happen, but the visual image of an old wolf being hunted down by a helicopter, with his hobbling mate by his side and his two freaked out pups along with him, is an ugly picture to carry in your head,” said. He said officials he spoke with were “not at all happy to have killed these wolves.” Sykes’ recording of OR4’s howl can be heard here.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/oregon-just-killed-family-wolves-181546732.html

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Nov. 12, 2009

In happier times! ODFW caught the ten member Imnaha wolf pack walking single file through the eastern Oregon woods with at least six pups!! Leading the pack is alpha female B-300.

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Posted in Oregon wolves, Wolf Wars

Photo: ODFW

Tags: OR4, OR39 (Limpy), ODFW, aerial gunning, shooting innocent wolves, OR7, Take Part, animal cruelty, Wolf wars, death of a Legend, Oregon Wild, B-300 (Sophie), Imnaha wolf pack,

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Remembering Limpy: The Life and Death of Wolf 253

Limpy

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 Trib.com.

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The life and death of wolf 253

Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2008 12:00 am  Trib.com

FRANZ CAMENZIND

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.

http://trib.com/editorial/forum/article_124999b7-cf79-5ce6-bb05-48213d55554b.html

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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,

Nabeki

Howling For Justice is dedicated to wolf 253.

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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.

READ MORE:

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=2994073

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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, Trib.com

Environmental Groups To Sue USFWS Over Wyoming Wolf Delisting, “Shoot-On-Sight” Plan

Limpy (photo Courtesy Steve Justad)

September 11, 2012

It was not unexpected but very welcome. Two coalitions of environmental groups put the USFWS on notice Monday they intend to sue over the delisting of gray wolves in Wyoming. Once wolves are delisted, as of October 1, 2012, they can be used for target practice in most of the state. Any method of killing is allowed, which means terrible pain and suffering for wolves in Wyoming. Wolf haters can run wild, anything a twisted mind can come up with. This comes at a time when Yellowstone wolves are being decimated by mange and other disease. Mange wrote the obituary for the famed Druid Peak Pack, who were so revered and loved by wildlife watchers around the world.

Is Yellowstone treating  wolves with Ivermectin,  which is effective against the infestation?  The famous African film makers and big cat advocates, the Jouberts, darted a mange infected wild leopard family they were studying with Ivermectin and in a few weeks the leopards were once again thriving.  They decided to act because another leopard they were filming fell to the mange mite and they couldn’t watch the  painful saga play out again but I digress.

My biggest worry concerning the lawsuit is securing an injunction to stop the killing before it starts. If the lawsuit proceeds and wolves remain unprotected, Wyoming’s fragile wolf population could suffer major losses even if the lawsuit is successful and wolves are relisted.

The means test for granting an injunction center on two questions the judge will weigh.

1. Will there be irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted?

Certainly the answer to this question has to be yes. Uncontrolled killing of wolves in most of the state could do terrible damage to Wyoming’s fragile wolf population in just a few months. In 2008 the famous Druid wolf Limpy was shot and killed in Daniel, Wyoming when the then Bush administration briefly lifted ESA protections for wolves.  Limpy died for nothing. His death broke hearts, he was a wolf who overcame so much, yet his life was snuffed out for blood sport. Think of what could happen to hundreds of Limpys if Wyoming has its way.

2. Do the plaintiffs have a good chance of winning the lawsuit?

It’s very obvious the Wyoming wolf plan is driven by politics and not science. It was reported last week that many of Wyoming’s elk herds have grown so large extra permits will be available to hunters  this season. One of the big lies about wolves is they are decimating elk herds in Wyoming,  when clearly this is BS. I think the plaintiffs have a very good chance of winning. Let’s hope the judge sees it that way.

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Environmental groups to sue over Wyoming wolf delisting 

 Associated Press

September 10, 2012

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Two coalitions of environmental groups filed notice Monday that they intend to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency’s decision to end federal protections for wolves in Wyoming.

The groups oppose the state of Wyoming’s classification of wolves as predators that can be shot on sight in more than 80 percent of state when federal protections end Oct. 1. Wyoming also has scheduled a regulated trophy wolf hunt in the remainder of the state, an area around the eastern and southern borders of Yellowstone National Park, starting next month.

The environmental groups emphasize that Wyoming’s current wolf management plan is similar to an earlier version that the federal agency repudiated after initially accepting it a few years ago. They claim the federal government is stopping wolf management for political reasons, not because the current plan is any better than the last one.

READ MORE: (From the Missoulian)

 http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/environmental-groups-to-sue-over-wyoming-wolf-delisting/article_e88904d4-fb5d-11e1-998b-0019bb2963f4.html?comment_form=true

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Yellowstone Wolves Hit by Disease

Live Science

Megan Gannon, News Editor
Date: 10 September 2012 Time: 11:23 AM ET

Less than two decades after wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park, viral diseases like mange threaten the stability of the new population.

Humans had killed off gray wolves in the region by the 1930s, but in 1995, U.S. wildlife officials tried to restore the native population by bringing 31 wolves captured from Canada into the national park.

The new wolf community initially expanded rapidly, climbing to more than 170 at its peak. But researchers from Penn State University say that the most recent data show the number of animals has dipped below 100.

“We’re down to extremely low levels of wolves right now,” researcher Emily S. Almberg, a graduate student in ecology, said in a statement. “We’re down to [similar numbers as] the early years of reintroduction. So it doesn’t look like it’s going to be as large and as a stable a population as was maybe initially thought.”

 READ MORE: (From Live Science)

http://www.livescience.com/23048-yellowstone-wolves-hit-by-disease.html

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Photos: Courtesy Steve Justad 2008

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Wyoming wolves, Activism

Tags: Environmental groups sue, Wyoming wolves under fire, Limpy, Druid Peak Pack,  USFWS,  Yellowstone National Park, mange mite, Yellowstone wolves hit by disease

A Beautiful Ode To Limpy (Wolf 253M)

This video is a treasure I found by chance, a beautiful narration by Brian Connolly of the life and death of wolf 253M, also known as Limpy. 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 selfless 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.

For the wolves, For Limpy,

Nabeki

Photo: Courtesy Steve Justad

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Limpy/wolf 253M

Tags: Limpy, wolf 253M, Hoppy, evils of blood sport, Wyoming, Druid Peak Pack, ode to Limpy

Remembering Limpy’: The Life and Death of Wolf 253

Limpy

Limpy – Wolf 253

On March 28, 2008, almost seven years ago, a cherished Druid Peak pack wolf 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 Trib.com and Earth Justice.

 ===

The life and death of wolf 253

Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2008 12:00 am  Trib.com

FRANZ CAMENZIND

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.

http://trib.com/editorial/forum/article_124999b7-cf79-5ce6-bb05-48213d55554b.html

 

Uploaded April 2009 DOW

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Limpy: The Story of Wolf 253

Wolf 253 was one of the first casualties as the federal government stripped Endangered Species protections for gray wolves in the northern Rockies. But this particular wolf was unique.

He was known by the nicknames of “Limpy” or “Hoppy,” depending on who you talk to; the name comes from an old injury that left him crippled for life. His official designation was Wolf 253, part of the wolf population brought back from the verge of extinction in the northern Rockies, and one of 1,500 gray wolves that lost federal protections in March when the federal government “delisted” wolves from the Endangered Species Act.

And on March 28, 2008, he was shot dead.

Limpy wasn’t just any old wolf. His distinctive gait, walking on three legs, made him one of the more easily recognized wolves in Yellowstone. Among his pack, too, he was unique: he was taller than Wolf 21, his father and the alpha male of the Druid pack that roamed the open fields in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley.

Wolf-watchers in the northern Rockies say Limpy grew up charging after elk at the same speed as the rest of his pack, despite the injury that hobbled him as a pup. He played an important role in the Druid pack, tending to pups and defending the pack’s main den from bears.

As a young male, Limpy left the safety and security of the Druid pack and struck out on his own. He trotted south out of Yellowstone Park, and traveled across southern Wyoming until he crossed the Utah border. A trapper chasing coyotes in the mountains 20 miles from Salt Lake City caught Limpy in one of his traps. It was November, 2002, and the first confirmed wolf sighting in Utah in 70 years.

Once, hundreds of thousands of wolves roamed the great expanse of the northern Rockies. Decimated by decades of unregulated slaughter and persecution, gray wolves were pushed to the brink of extinction. In 1973, gray wolves became one of the first animals to appear on the Endangered Species list. With the help of legal protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act, wolves in the northern Rockies had begun making a comeback when Hoppy arrived.

The wolf trapper called the US Fish and Wildlife, who sent a man down from Wyoming to fetch Limpy. The injured wolf was loaded in the back of a truck and driven to the far northern stretches of Grand Teton National Park, where he was released back into the wild two days later.

“He was a hell of a wolf,” recalls one veteran wolf-watcher. “After he was released with a hurt foot from the coyote trap, he crossed the territories of probably four hostile wolf packs in order to rejoin his old pack in Yellowstone Park.”

No one witnessed Limpy’s reunion with the Druid pack; it happened under cover of darkness. But the next morning, when one avid wolf-watcher and local photographer spotted Limpy back with his former pack, he was stunned.

“He was in bad shape,” recalled the photographer. “Must’ve been down to two and a half legs.”

Survival is a strong instinct, and so is the natural inclination of wolves to live in close-knit families and packs. Limpy was welcomed back to the Druid pack, and resumed the life he’d known years before.

Eventually, Limpy left the safety of Yellowstone and headed south again. He spent a year near an elk refuge near Jackson, then moved on toward Pinedale, feeding on elk, an occasional deer, and probably a smattering of jackrabbits and mice.

Limpy must have known that elk could be found around man-made feeding grounds, where elk are concentrated and disease is easily transmitted. Limpy was one of many wolves who preyed on elk grazing the land, helping keep the populations in check and thinning the herds of the sick and weak.

Limpy had, however, crossed into Sublette County, where local grocery stores sell bumper stickers that read “Wolves — Government-sponsored terrorists!” Some ranchers and farmers don’t hold much love for wolves, which they see only as predator… despite the fact that many animals are, by their very nature, predators. It’s a brutal fact of nature. It’s how they survive.

In the end, Limpy’s venture outside the safety of Yellowstone Park’s official boundaries proved fatal. After eight years spent traveling over thousands of miles, he was shot — along with another male and a female wolf — near the elk feeding ground a few miles outside Daniel, Wyoming on March 28, 2008. He became one of the first casualties in a resurrected war against wolves that began the day the federal government stripped Endangered Species protections from gray wolves across the northern Rockies.

Limpy’s death was reported to the state, as required under new Wyoming wolf rules, and word of his killing quickly spread across the Internet. The Salt Lake City Tribune picked up the story, and talked with several people who were fans of the old wolf with the bum leg.

“He died for nothing,” lamented Salt Lake City resident Marlene Foard. “If there was a reason to kill him, I could live with that. But there wasn’t.”

Another reader wrote in an e-mail, “I think they have no idea what they have done by killing this particular wolf.”

And Franz Camenzind, executive director of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, said people knew wolves had been hanging around the feeding ground, but none had been seen attacking cattle herds or destroying human property. As Camenzind told the Salt Lake City Tribune, Limpy was “a good wolf. He covered thousands of miles and didn’t cause any trouble.”

Come fall, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana expect to approve formal, legalized wolf hunts. Right now, except for a small area just outside Yellowstone in Wyoming, all you need is just a gun and a steady aim to legally shoot a wolf.

But there’s still hope for the rest of the wolves in the northern Rockies. In the past, Earthjustice has opposed several previous versions of Wyoming’s plans to declare wolves enemies of the state, and this time around we’re heading back to court to press for reinstating ESA protection for gray wolves in the region.

Our goal is to get the federal government to come up with a more realistic wolf recovery plan… something that recognizes recent science findings about a species that fought for 30 years to recover from nearly a century of devastating slaughter. The current plan could allow Idaho, Wyoming and Montana to hunt down wolves far and wide, and reduce a population of 1,500 wolves across three states to a mere 300 survivors.

Sadly, Limpy won’t be among their numbers.

http://www.earthjustice.org/library/features/hoppy-the-story-of-wolf-253.html

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Photo: Courtesy Steve Justad

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

Tags: Endangered Species Act, wolf intolerance, Limpy, Wolf 253, Druid Peak Pack, RIP Limpy

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