Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife, said today that, "This wolf killing was cowardly and without justification. The killer's target was a mere pup, it was not near any livestock, and its almost solid black coat would preclude anyone mistaking it for a coyote. Whoever shot this wolf killed an endangered species, and should be tried as a criminal."
The Defenders' reward will be added to a $1,000 reward that has been offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). FWS enforcement officials credited an earlier Defenders' reward in helping to produce evidence in the case in which Chad McKittrick of Red Lodge, Montana, was convicted of shooting one of the wolves released in Yellowstone Park earlier this year. Anyone with information about the recent killing should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (406) 329-3000.
This wolf pup, a member of the "Boulder pack," was shot in west- central Montana and was not part of the recent reintroduction in Yellowstone or central Idaho. This endangered wolf was one of three pups that recently had been relocated after adult members of the pack killed three calves near Lockhart meadows. All of the pack's adult wolves, with the exception of the alpha female, were removed to Glacier National Park. FWS biologists had just released the pups to rejoin their mother in the meadow.
Robert Ferris, Director of Defenders of Wildlife's Species Conservation Division, said, "The killing of the pup was as ironic as it was unnecessary. Defenders had just finished reimbursing the ranchers who lost the calves and the FWS had just relocated the wolves which had preyed on the cattle." Defenders noted that the pups and their mother likely will return to a strictly wild diet.
According to Hank Fischer, Defenders Northern Rockies Representative, "Defenders of Wildlife has met the critics of wolf recovery more than half way. We have supported the immediate control of wolves that kill livestock, and we have created a $100,000 Wolf Compensation Fund that pays ranchers for all verified livestock losses to wolves. In return, we expect that people will not kill wolves that aren't causing problems. Wolves and humans can coexist, but it requires tolerance and a respect for the law. We believe people who break that public trust should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Contact(s):Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270