Prevent Wolf Hunting in Wyoming’s National Parks

The alpha female wolf known as 832F in Yellowstone National Park.

The alpha female wolf known as 832F in Yellowstone National Park. Photo © Richard Seeley/iStockphoto.

The gray wolf has made a stunning comeback in the northern Rockies. In the late 1920s, wolves had been completely eradicated from western Wyoming as well as the rest of the lower 48 states. Conservationists reintroduced wolves to the region in the 1990s, successfully restoring new populations to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, as well as the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway, a 24,000-acre tract of land managed by the National Park Service that connects the two parks.

Today, the animals are well on their way to recovering. This should be a success story. However, now that the federal government plans to “delist” the wolves in Wyoming–remove them from endangered species protection–officials will view them as predators over the majority of the state, allowing people to shoot them on sight. Although wolves would still be protected within Yellowstone, the animals could be hunted as trophy game animals in the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway, unless the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service specifically exempts national park lands from wolf hunting before wolves are delisted. You can take action to help protect these wolves in these national parks.

Why protect wolves? If you are not moved by the beauty and significance of the animals themselves, consider their relationship with the rest of the region. The loss of predators such as wolves has a ripple effect that throws an entire ecosystem out of balance, affecting not just other wildlife, but plant populations, too. Recent research from Oregon State University (reported in ScienceDaily last month) reinforces the role of predators in wildlife management. The researchers, OSU Professor William Ripple and Professor Emeritus Robert Beschta, examined 42 studies from the past 50 years on how large carnivores affect ecosystems in North America, Northern Europe, and Asia, finding similar results throughout these studies: that loss of wolves and bears creates an overpopulation of game animals such as deer, and in the case of Wyoming, elk, which in turn reduces plant life and harms biodiversity. Since plants naturally sequester carbon, the impact of predator loss to ecosystems may even have an impact on the climate. According to the study, hunting by humans simply does not offer the benefits that natural predators do in the wild.

More than 54,000 NPCA supporters have already voiced concerns about wolf hunting in Wyoming to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, asking him to protect wolves in national parks. To date, however, the Department of the Interior has not made changes to the final wolf delisting rule to exempt wolf hunting in these areas. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now accepting comments on the proposed wolf delisting, giving wolf supporters another chance to weigh in—but only until tomorrow, May 16.

Since the wolves can’t submit their own public comments, it’s vital that more national park supporters take five minutes now to speak out for their protection before tomorrow’s deadline. Visit our website for sample comments, and the link to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife public comment website.

About the Author

Senior Program Manager, Grand Teton Field Office

  • Shannon Force

    National Parks are supposed to be sanctuaries for all animals. DO NOT allow these beautiful animals to be hunted in the National Parks!

    • Taye Rosser

      “The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different. Hippocrates”.

      Where wolves are God is.

  • http://facebook Pauline Koon

    Please don’t kill out these beautiful animals!!I come from the Black Wolf Clan here in Northern Lower Michigan.

  • Paula Feldmeier

    I don’t want my federal tax dollars being abused by those who want to trophy hunt wolves in a National Park. Wolves should be protected in National Parks. There is no other right way about it.

  • Caitlin Deneauw

    I don’t have a comment.

  • Kyra Schon

    Wolves are a natural part of the ecosystem and their recovery should be encouraged and celebrated. There’s too much ignorance, fear and loathing on the part of land and livestock owners in wolf country. I’m sure funds exist to reimburse ranchers/farmers for livestock that have fallen prey to wolves. Hunting should not be permitted in or around the national parks under any circumstances.

  • Robyn Hobbs

    Our National Parks should not be allowed as hunting grounds toward any animal.They have lived in these places and know them as a place of safety.It would be inhumane to change that for people that need a pelt from an unexpecting animal to feel like a somebody.Allowing hunting at these parks will eventually end in someone being shot/injured-as this type of thing seldomly happens,but does happen,as it is.Wolves have their part in our ecosystem and should be treated so instead of as game.Please do not allow hunting in the National Parks.

  • Kelly Withee

    Please save these wonderful creatures!

  • Marcia

    National Parks should provide safe haven for all creatures. Shooting should not be allowed. And if you can’t find it in yourself to undersatnd that all creatures have a place in this world, think about this. Last summer a racoon was spotted in a park near my home.A local police office shot the creature several times thinking it was rabid. One of the bullets passed through the raccoon and hit a passerby on a bicycle.

  • stephanie jones

    leave the wolves,alone-they have every right to be here-if you read the bible-we are ALL God’s creatures-If He put them here that’s where they belong-

  • Kyle Henthorne


  • Marian Hennings

    I oppose wolf hunting, especially in a national park!

  • Kenuck

    They breed like rats…given an ample food source,they will completely desimate the local native and domestic to the point that they eat each other…smart and hard to hunt or trap.You’re involved with something you know nothing about.

  • mary floyd

    Killing wolves that are in national parks, owned by us, the taxpayers, is criminal in my mind.
    It is all for the protection of the hunters so they have more animals to shoot and kill — for sport! And for the cattlemen who are to cheap to hire security for their animals which shouldn’t be grazing in our national parks anyway….let them purchase the land to graze them on….they are the ones making the profits.
    Get the guns and bows and arrows out of our national parks…and stop killing these beautiful animals who deserve to live and roam free.

  • Bob Gemmill

    It is horrible enough – that this beautiful creature has been slaughtered – to near extinction – because of US. Then, we ATTEMPT to rectify this HORRENDOUS WRONG – only to start the SLAUGHTER AGAIN – and in a SACRED PROTECTED PLACE like the NATIONAL PARKS!!!! Have a feeling – as those before me have written – that OUR TIME IS COMING – to ANSWER FOR THIS – and it isn’t ON THIS EARTH – because it will last for ETERNITY!!! AMEN!!!