A Gray Wolf Dies, Hunters Celebrate As Her Pack Calls For Her, Waits, Howls And Finally Grieves (VIDEO)

Who is alpha female 832F? For that matter, who is Echo? For those humans who mourn the loss of gray wolves, the answers come with tears and grief for the loss of beautiful animals being followed and studied to help us ignorant humans learn to live side by side with wildlife.  Yesterday, it was revealed that Echo, an alpha female gray wolf spotted and celebrated at the rim of the Grand Canyon was the gray wolf that had been killed in December 2014 by a hunter in Utah. The lives and deaths of these two glorious creatures will be discussed but first a bit of history on the gray wolf.

Photo Courtesy of USFWS by Gary Kramer

Photo Courtesy of USFWS by Gary Kramer

The gray wolf has been place upon the endangered species list numerous times and in the past four years has been delisted and reinstated no less than 4 times. According to the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service:

“May 2011: The Service published a direct final rule delisting wolves in Idaho, Montana and parts of Oregon, Washington and Utah. This final rule implements legislative language included in the Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations bill. The Service and the states will monitor wolf populations in the Northern Rocky Mountain DPS and gather population data for at least five years.

“August 2012: The Service announced that the Wyoming population of gray wolves was recovered and no longer warranted protection under the Endangered Species Act. Beginning September 30th, wolves in Wyoming were managed by the state under an approved management plan, as they are in the states of Idaho and Montana.

“Following successful recovery efforts in the NRM and western Great Lakes regions, the Service proposed to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the remainder of the United States and Mexico, while maintaining protection for the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) in the Southwest.

. . .

“On September 23, 2014, the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the delisting of wolves in Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). At present, we are still evaluating this decision. However, the effect of the decision is the reinstatement of Federal protections that were in place prior to our 2012 delisting. Therefore, wolves are again listed as a nonessential experimental population in all of Wyoming. Take of wolves may be authorized only by the nonessential experimental population rules or by permits issued under section 10 of the ESA. All of Wyoming except the Wind River Indian Reservation again operates under the 1994 nonessential experimental population rule. The Wind River Indian Reservation can again operate under the 2005 nonessential experimental population rule, as amended in 2008.”

What does all this mean? Wolves were listed on the endangered species list in 1974. For decades, wolves were repopulating and now, there’s a war on wolves with the claim being that the wolf has rebounded and is now exceeding population targets. And as one would expect in this gun-happy hunting country of ours, open season on wolves was declared and the slaughter began.

“Wolves were rescued from the brink of extinction in the 1970s. But in 2011 the government began stripping their protection under the Endangered Species Act, which transferred “management” to the states. As of December 23, 2014, 3,484 wolves have been slaughtered in just six states.”

This means wolves were being killed purportedly during hunting season by those following hunting rules in several northern states but has ceased in Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan for the time being due to lawsuits and laws being passed. Sadly, many do not follow the rules and continue to slaughter gray wolves under the ruse of ‘killing coyotes’ or some other lame excuse for those that get caught killing wolves without permits or in states or areas where it is prohibited. The other murderers just kill, duck, cover and hide like the cowards that they are.

Photo courtesy of latimes.com via Arizona Game and Fish Department

Photo courtesy of latimes.com via Arizona Game and Fish Department

This is the legal side of the story. But what about our humanity? What are we doing to this beautiful creature? An animal that scientists now agree loves and grieves deeply and is being hunted throughout the north and northwest without thought or concern for the life of this animal.

For those that may be unaware, wolves breed, live and travel in packs (families/communities) and generally only the male and female alphas of the pack will mate and breed. The little pups (4-6) are born blind and begin hunting with their pack at around 8 months of age. Fewer than 50 percent make it to adulthood and of those, most live fewer than 5 years in the wild. But in “ideal conditions,” some can live as long as 15 years of age. But we humans make sure that they don’t live in “ideal conditions.”

We can listen to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Services who are now gung-ho to delist the gray wolf and let the killing begin. We can listen to the hunters who claim that the deer and other wildlife are disappearing as the gray wolves repopulate as if hunters have no responsibility for the disappearance of deer and other wildlife. It is easy to blame an animal. Or we can listen to our hearts and know that these creatures should be spared from the zealots that hunt for sport and enjoy the killing of something that doesn’t hunt and can’t kill them, nor would want to–and it has nothing to do with feeding their families. I call bullshit on that.

I can almost guarantee that the angry white hunter will come out against this article to declare that he is killing the wolf to protect his own children. Story after story is told on social media by hunters purportedly saving their children waiting at the school bus stop. Again, I call Bullshit. Stupid arguments quoted over and over again by stupid people. For almost 5 years I have suggested to these liars to f**king Google it. Any tales of terror belong in history books or in the wilds of India or other countries, but not here in the north or northwestern regions of the United States.

Now back to Alpha Female 832F and Echo. In December 2012, Alpha Female 832F was shot and killed and the howls could be heard throughout Yellowstone and the grieving was by wolf and man.

“Marc Cooke, a member of the advocacy group Wolves of the Rockies, said he was moved by the way that 832F had cared for her pups, bringing them food and snarling ferociously at any animals that posed a threat to them.  She was an amazing mother. When I heard she died, I felt like I lost a family member.”

Of course, the hunters set about making the researchers and those that followed the alpha female and mourned her loss look like nuts.

“Robert Fanning, co-founder of the group Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, which opposes wolf protections, said he knew one hunter who shot a popular wolf from Yellowstone and then boasted of the feat on his vanity license plates. Mr. Fanning said that empathizing with wolves because of their supposedly human traits compares unfavorably with “what pagans did in ancient cultures.

. . .

“Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, likened the admiration for 832F to romanticizing ‘a psychotic predator stalking Central Park and slitting the throats of unwary visitors.'”

And now–Echo.  In December 2013, a glorious female gray wolf was spotted on the north rim of the Grand Canyon for the first time since the 1940’s.  A contest was held to name the wolf and it came to be that this female would be called, Echo. This was a really big deal.

Courtesy of the Washington Post via photo by Center for Biological Diversity

Courtesy of the Washington Post via photo by Center for Biological Diversity

In late December a hunter claiming to have mistaken a wolf for a coyote, reported that he had shot a female wolf in Utah. The wolf was taken in for DNA testing and yesterday, February 12, 2015, it was determined that the wolf that was killed was Echo. She was wearing a collar to monitor her travels and while it was not working at the time of her death, it was determined that she had traveled between 500 and 750 miles seeking a mate.

In Utah, a hunter is paid $50 for bringing in dead coyotes. Perhaps this hunter could buy himself a new pair of glasses with his next few coyote kills.

The hunting of these animals is lunacy. We show our lack of humanity each and every day in the way we treat each other but even more so, in the way we mistreat wildlife and our planet. We must place these animals back on the endangered list, not because their numbers dwindle each time they are delisted, (although they do) but because it is the human thing to do. No children are being attacked at school bus stops. Hunters are killing deer from hunting areas where they cowardly sit and wait to destroy creatures that have much more of a right to be in these locations than we do.

As I write this very long story about two strong and intelligent females who just happen to be wolves, my heart screams and I, too, howl and grieve at their deaths–as do many.

Here’s the Video: The Imperiled American Wolf