According to Yellowstone scientists, hunters in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming shot seven gray wolves that were collared for research purposes in recent weeks. Though there is no indication that the wolves were hunted illegally, animal activists have said the killings point to the need for a buffer zone around Yellowstone.
Dave Hallec, chief of the park’s Center for Resources, told reporters that the killings do not threaten Yellowstone’s population of 85-100 gray wolves. Park officials are now concerned with retrieving the data collars the wolves were wearing.
Though gray wolves were removed from the endangered species list last year by Congress, there are still restrictions on hunting them in certain areas. Only three wolves can be killed annually in the zone around Yellowstone, a law put in place after hunters killed nine in a span of weeks in 2009. Hunters in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming have killed 191 wolves this season, out of an estimated regional population of 1,774.
Via Associated Press