- Posted January 20, 2014 by
San Antonio, Texas
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
She Wolf 06 832F
On Sunday, January 19, Nat Geo Wild aired it’s documentary, “She Wolf”, and the story of one of Yellowstone’s most famous and respected celebrity wolves, 06 832F. Following the reintroduction of the Grey Wolf to Yellowstone, the packs have acquired a following among about one million nature lovers. The wolves have inspired many who love to watch them for their intrinsic value, and they have contributed to science by demonstrating the importance of an apex predator to the trophic cascade of our ecosystem. They were valued by those who knew of them on many levels.
“She Wolf” tells of one lone wolf, and how through her perseverance as a young adult, she forms a family with a younger wolf who is not yet mature enough to provide for her or provide protection for her. As he plays she hunts as a lone female, unusual for wolves, and she does so while carrying pups. She has her pups, and with her mate, 755M, they form the now famous Lamar Canyon Pack. She became known as the “alpha female”, as a wolf with amazing courage, tenacity, and wits, who provided for and protected her pack.
The documentary follows the pack and their lives as three litters of pups grow, their pack bonds, their survival recorded in their natural habitat. We watch footage of their lives until that day in December of 2012 when a trophy hunter shoots and kills 06, the details of her leaving the safety of park grounds unclear. Her beta male, 754M, the uncle of her pups who helped raise them, was shot and killed one month prior.
Since the loss of their beloved alpha the pack structure was lost. Her mate, 755M grieved with the three litters of pups they had raised with their uncle. 755M wandered and became a lone wolf, eventually finding a mate who his offspring would reject. The new hope for the pack, strong-willed female Middle Grey emerges as a promising alpha female. She is then targeted as a priority kill for the trophy hunters. She is not accounted for to date.
The fame of these wolves, and the love they have received from nature observers has made them more desirable kills for trophy hunters. As many grieve and are traumatized by their loss, it seems the higher the incentive to kill them has become. It has become a challenge to track the celebrity animals by their GPS research collars, lure them from the park, kill them, and take pictures. It is a game for those who find pleasure in the suffering and killing of these animals. Yellowstone staff are openly taunted with insults and veiled threats. Many of the celebrity wolves have since been killed or are missing since the government shutdown of 2013.
What does this say about our culture and the effectiveness of our government when over 75% of the public have shown support for the wolves, a federal research study is gutted, and animal cruelty is blatantly boasted as a contest? How is this behavior tolerated when it meets the light of day? How are the ethics and the rights of the majority superseded by the will of a small minority who pleasure themselves by killing animals?
Image from Earth Island Journal