February 26, 2014
Tom Myrick, communications director
International Wolf Center
3410 Winnetka Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55427
Office: 763-560-7374 ext. 225
“The news of the death of wolf 832F, also known as wolf 06 for the year she was born,reached our board members following their quarterly meeting last week and was later shared with staff and volunteers,” said Rob Schultz, executive director at the International Wolf Center. “Anytime you hear of a collared research wolf being killed it is disturbing, but the loss of Lamar Canyon breeding female 06 is a huge setback to the scientific community. She wore a special GPS collar that collected data several times a day. She was also a legend because of the depth of what she taught us about wolf behavior, and she has been admired by people around the world as a fierce mother who once held off grizzlies to protect her pups for several hours.”
Researchers rely heavily on the data gathered from GPS collared wolves to expand their understanding of wolf behavior, habits, population and the many threats to their survival. The deaths of many GPS-collared research wolves in Yellowstone National Park this year significantly sets back ongoing research in understanding wolves and raises questions about the future of Yellowstone wolf packs.
“The public investment in the data is considerable,” says Rolf Peterson, a wildlife biologist based at Isle Royale with more than 40 years of wolf research under his belt. Most people don’t understand that data from GPS collars and regular tracking collars is absolutely foundational. And, the longer we have that data, the greater the knowledge we gain.” Wolf 832f provided vital data for the past six years. Additionally, the popularity of collared wolves and their packs translates into a tourism impact of more than 35 million dollars annually to the economy in the Yellowstone area.
Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Commission’s vote to close some areas adjacent to the park to wolf hunting and trapping may help save remaining collared wolves from being taken. Some wolf researchers believe that a wider buffer zone around the park is needed to protect the collared wolves and the critical research they provide. Peterson noted a similar controversy in the Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada some 10 years ago that resulted in an extended six-mile buffer zone. The action provided an important degree of protection for a wolf population that was meant to have refuge in the park.
As part of its on-going commitment to be a leading resource for information about wolves, the International Wolf Center has released a video statement highlighting efforts to support recovery and survival of wolves. “For more than 27 years, the International Wolf Center has inspired millions of people around the world to understand and advance the survival of wolf populations,” explained Schultz. “Education has been key to changing public attitudes and continues to be the most powerful tool in affecting lasting change.”
In addition to the new video, the International Wolf Center is gathering real-life stories for a book titled, “Wolves We Have Known,” to be released in October, 2013 at its international wolf symposium in Duluth, Minnesota. The book will feature a collection of tales about famous wolves around the world, including wolf 06, as related by the researchers who followed them. For more information about wolf 06, download the article Wolf 06 of Lamar Canyon published in the Spring 2011 issue of International Wolf magazine.