A beloved wild wolf known as ‘Spitfire’ was killed by a trophy hunter when she wandered outside Yellowstone National Park.
The seven-year-old wolf – known as Lamar Canyon Wolf Pack member 926F to scientists – was shot by a hunter in Montana last weekend.
The wolf, also dubbed the Queen of the Lamar Valley by wolf enthusiasts, died the same way her famous mother, the alpha female wolf 832F, did in 2012.
The leader of the Lamar Canyon pack, 832F was better known as 06 – a reference to the year she was born – and inspired the book American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West.
A beloved wild wolf known as ‘Spitfire’ (above) was killed by a trophy hunter when she wandered outside Yellowstone National Park last weekend
A Facebook page for wolf lovers named for the celebrity wolf, The 06 Legacy, paid tribute to her slain daughter, who was also known as Queen of the Lamar Valley, last week.
Karol Miller, who founded the group, wrote: ‘It’s so difficult to write this. We are passing along the devastating news that our beloved 926F of the Lamar Canyon Pack was killed in the Montana trophy hunt.
‘She was the daughter of our namesake 06 and she was known as the Queen of the Lamar Valley.
‘926F showed incredible strength, courage and resilience in everything she did. She had a special bond with her daughter Little T and they stayed together all these years.’
The seven-year-old wolf – known as Lamar Canyon Wolf Pack member 926F to scientists – was shot by a hunter in Montana last weekend
The post added: ‘We had so much to celebrate when we saw five strong and healthy pups this fall.
‘And now it took just one bullet and 926F is gone. Just like her mother 06 and her uncle 754M before her. With current wolf management practices, the tragedy just doesn’t end.’
It added: ‘The 06 Legacy is committed to protecting wolves and we are going to fight even harder for 06, 926F, 754M and all the other wolves whose lives are taken for granted and are killed for nothing more than sport.
‘We leave you tonight with hearts full of sadness. Rest In Peace our beautiful Queen.’
Spitfire’s killing has renewed calls for a hunting-free buffer zone around Yellowstone National park
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks confirmed that Spitfire was killed legally less than five miles from Yellowstone’s northeast entrance
Miller added to the New York Times: ‘Everybody’s mourning, everybody’s thinking about what to do to stop this madness.
‘These are the descendants of 06, her legacy. People love those wolves.’
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks confirmed to the Times that Spitfire was killed legally less than five miles from Yellowstone’s northeast entrance – between Silver Gate and Cooke City.
The state has permitted the hunting of wolves since 2011.
But the killing has renewed calls for a buffer zone around Yellowstone so that wolves that live there cannot be shot if they wander beyond the park’s invisible boundary.
The seven-year-old wolf (pictured) – known as Lamar Canyon Wolf Pack member 926F to scientists – was legally shot by a hunter in Montana
A Facebook page named for Spitfire’s celebrity mother paid tribute to the slain wolf last week
Montana lawmakers have passed legislation forbidding the creation of a buffer.
However, there is a hunting limit of two wolves in each of the two districts near Yellowstone’s northern boundary.
In a blog post, the Wolf Conservation Center noted that wolf hunting licenses cost $19 for residents and $50 for non-residents in Montana.
‘Perhaps Montana should take a closer look at the economics of wolf hunting,’ the post said.
‘Seems that Yellowstone wolves are worth a lot more alive than dead.’
From 1995 to 1997, 41 wild wolves from Canada and northwestern Montana were released into Yellowstone National Park and quickly grew in number.
Around 528 were estimated to be living in the park in 2015.
By December 2016, park officials said at least 108 were in the park.