From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1996:
Wolf reintroduction ran into trouble in
both the northwest and southeast during November
and December––and not just from Congress, where
Senator Conrad Burns (R-Montana) failed in an
attempt to amend the Interior appropriations bill to
prevent further wolf reintroductions to Yellowstone
National Park, but succeeded in cutting the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service’s wolf reintroduction budget
by a third. Three of the five wolf project staff
were laid off, but private funders donated the
$30,000 needed to buy radio collars for a group of
15 Canadian wolves who in early January will be
released to join the 21 wolves already in the park.
On November 5, one of the three pups
from the Boulder wolf pack in western Montana
was found shot, a month after the trio plus two
adults were moved into Glacier National Park and
radio collared because their pack killed three calves.
The pups’ mother, not moved, was believed to
have done the actual killing. On December 20, the
region lost another young wolf when a pup born to
the group who were relocated into Yellowstone last
winter was hit by a delivery truck.
But the death that created the most stir
came when Banner McLean of Fishtail, Montana,
took his cougar-hunting dog out, the dog attacked a
wolf, and the wolf killed the dog. Senator Max
Baucus (D-Montana) joined Burns in howling that
the public should have been notified that wolves had
wandered into the area, 40 miles north of
Yellowstone, never mind that if the dog had been
leashed or not trained to attack, he’d still be alive.
On November 29, meanwhile, USFWS
biologist Chris Lucash found an 18-month-old
female red wolf shot to death near Dalton Gap,
more than a mile inside Great Smoky Mountains
National Park on a section of the Appalachian Trail
that has been retired in favor of a different route. It
was the first wolf shooting since red wolves were
reintroduced in 1991.
Wolves are actually doing better in areas
they recolonize themselves. About 200 wolves now
roam northern Wisconsin and the Michigan Upper
Peninsula; 2,000 in Minnesota. The USFWS now
anticipates that wolves could be removed from the
Endangered Species List as early as 1998.