Druid Peak male wolf no. 31M was illegally shot when the pack briefly left Yellowstone Park a week ago to explore the remote recesses of the adjacent North Absaroka Wilderness. Number 31, reintroduced originally as part of the Chief Joseph Pack, joined the Druids in November 1996 to become the beta male.
In my last update I mentioned that although the Druid Peak Pack had mostly been seen as usual in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley and Soda Butte Creek, they had briefly crossed over the top of the Absaroka Range into the adjacent North Absaroka Wilderness. This designated wilderness is one of the deepest, least-used by humans, and remote places in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Nevertheless, someone shot number 31 while they were there. The body of the radio-collared wolf was found in Crandall Creek. There are no livestock in the area.
Few people use the North Absaroka Wilderness because it is very rugged with few trails and trailheads, lots of grizzly bears, and much of it burned in the fires of 1988. The rigs of the folks using the area are evident at the trailheads, especially Crandall Creek, where no. 31's body was found. Federal investigators said they were optimistic the killer would be found.
A number of the Yellowstone wolves have been shot, even so the population is growing rapidly. However, only two killers have been found and prosecuted so far. Let's hope they catch this one and "throw the book" at them. In my opinion, so far the federal government has been far too lenient.
Anyone with information that could help put the killer behind bars should call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Casper, Wyoming (307-261-6365) or the Cody, Wyoming office at 307-527-7605.
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