Yellowstone Wolves Killed in Record Numbers

NPR reports that this winter saw the most wolves from Yellowstone National Park killed in nearly a century. Park officials say it’s due to states neighboring the park (Wyoming, Montana and Idaho) having changed hunting rules in an effort to reduce the animals’ numbers.

Yellowstone National Park senior wolf biologist Doug Smith called it “the winter of my discontent.” This season, hunters killed 25 wolves – about 20% of the park’s population.

Photo by Neal Herbert / Yellowstone National Park, public domain (

While there’s no wolf hunting allowed inside the Yellowstone boundaries, they’re fair game once they cross the park border onto state land in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. (Yellowstone itself, of course, is mainly in Wyoming.)

The current wolf population in the park is at a low point, Smith said. Estimates are in the 80s. 

Previously, wolves were hunted to near extinction in the park; the last pack was killed in 1926. However, surviving species were reintroduced to the park in the mid-1990s along with mountain lions and grizzly bears. 

“That’s a really cool thing to say in this day and age when most environmental news is bad,” Smith noted. “Yellowstone is as good as it’s ever been, and a big part of that is we’ve restored the ecosystem and we’ve done it with the toothy big carnivores – all of them.”

Read the full report at