Wolves slaughter 19 elk in ‘sport killing’ in Wyoming

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A file photo of a wolf.

By Ralph Ellis and Dave Alsup


(CNN) — In what appears to be a case of “sport killing,” a pack of wolves slaughtered a herd of elk in one night, Wyoming wildlife officials said Friday.

Nineteen elk, mostly calves, were found dead several days ago at a feeding ground near Bondurant, a town southeast of Jackson, said John Lund of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. A contractor delivering feed to the herd discovered the dead animals.

Lund said wildlife officials are concerned because wolves usually eat what they kill or come back later to feed.

“It appears to be sport killing,” he said. The pack suspected of killing the elks has nine wolves, he added.

There are about 1,100 elk in the area, he said, and about 7% of the population has been lost to wolves this winter.

“There is a significant concern among wildlife managers,” he said, noting that there are no reports of wolves attacking humans. “Our concern is big game.”

But there’s nothing the state agency can do, he said. Wolves are federally federally protected and managed.

In 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service planned to take wolves off the endangered list and turn over management of the animals to Wyoming, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website. That would have allowed state-regulated hunting of wolves.

But a federal judge ruled in 2014 that wolves remain under federal control and be relisted as an endangered species.

The federal agency could kill wolves that are attacking livestock but not wildlife, said Mike Jiminez, the wildlife service’s Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf coordinator, according to the Casper Star Tribune.

Wolves, once nearly extinct, were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website. The number of wolves grew and spread across the region.


  • hocuspocus13

    It’s the balance of nature

    The wolves need to eat don’t you need to eat and probably eating meat aren’t you?

    Do you expect the wolves to go to the grocery store?

    Nature takes care of itself just nature taking its course…

  • KDC

    This is not surprising. Wolves are known for this kind of behavior, hence why they were eratacated at the begging of the 20 centurary. They are killing machines by nature, and this is just another reason why they should not be on the endangered species list any longer.

  • dbug

    Wolves do not kill for sport or kill just to ill. Only humans do that. This, if it really was the wolf pack, was a late winter surplus kill. Likely if the carcasses were left alone the pack would have returned for future easy feasts.

    • bob

      Nine wolves cannot conceivably eat 19 elk before scavengers eat them.

      Canines of all sorts “sport kill” when the opportunity arises and if they’re in the mood. Always have. Lots of animals do that, actually. Every seen when happens when a mink gets in a chicken coop? It kills every, single bird and then leaves them to rot.

    • bob

      What the wolves did was natural to them, under UNNATURAL circumstances. HUMANS rounded up those elk and concentrated them in one spot.

      It’s not reasonable to say what is “natural” for wolves or not when WE choose to change the rules.

      Potato chips weren’t available to cave men. But what would a group of cave men tend to do if you put 50 bags of potato chips in front of them? They’ll eat until they can eat no more, long past the point when their hunger is sated. That’s what humans do. Wolves are no different. Wolves kill. If they start killing, and easy kills continue to be immediately available, they’ll keep killing until they’re tired. They have no “stop killing” instinct. It’s not normally relevant.

  • MD

    Isn’t that the ONLY way People do it?
    Even Grizzly Adams would have a farmer’s market within a day’s journey.
    You Know he stocked up…, defended his territory, trained, or culled the herd like
    any survivialist creature should.

  • MD

    They don’t overpoulate, unless they’re locked in a ‘reservation’. See, a pesron can be a poison or a protector. Is this a story about a creatrure with a hundred cattle complaining a group of other creatures took about 2 each?
    There is a reason most of the population living today wasn’t here to cultivate this Garden and by their own admission don’t plan to be around to renew it.

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