Just want to share a few photos of wolves (all taken with a Canon R5 and 600mm and 1.4x and 2x teleconverters) and hear your thoughts about a topic... that Yellowstone wolves may be in danger very soon...
In the past 10 years, I've travelled all over the world to photograph wildlife. One thing I found out is that lots of wildlife are curious in nature, and if they found out that your presence doesn't endanger them, they would allow you to get close. Sometimes they may get curious and even come towards you to check on you.
I remember the times when the penguins in Falkland Islands would come to untie my shoelaces. And albatross would land right behind me and take a nap.
However, it gets much more difficult to photograph any birds during hunting season, because they knew they could be killed.
But... what if they didn't know they could be killed after being protected...
I spent 60 days in Yellowstone this past winter and talked to the people in the wolf project. The wolves are protected within the park and no one is allowed to hunt there. Some wolves had crossed the roads in the park and saw visitors not too far from them.
I don't know if this is the right word, but they may "trust" that humans are of no harm to them because humans are not allowed to harm them inside the park.
So in a way they are acclimated to humans and sometimes even got curious, almost like the penguins of Falklands. The rules in the park is we must stay 100 yards from the wolves.
However, wolves travel long distance (their natural behavior, they can walk many miles a day) and without knowing, they could easily go outside the Yellowstone park boundary, and once they are outside of Yellowstone, they could be hunted.
And since they thought humans are of no harm, they may walk right towards the hunters just outside the park.
So in a way, its absolutely unfortunate that while Yellowstone protect the wolves and give us such an amazing experience to view these wolves, it could also become the reason why these "more bold and curious" Yellowstone wolves could get killed easily once outside the park, compared to the "other" wolves that were always outside the park and were more skittish from humans.
My friend Scott, a doctor who has worked as a volunteer in Yellowstone for many years (and I met him during my trip to Yellowstone where he shared with me his experience and introduced me to some staff of the Yellowstone wolf project) just told me that MT legislature and FWP are taking an aggressive stance on wolf killing. This also threatens the YNP wolves. He sent me a PDF with the info regarding this topic:
The Wolf Hunt Proposal is open to public comment until July 26 so we can express what we think here.
What I found out so far is that some hunters outside the park wanted to get rid of the wolves because they think the wolves threaten their livelihood as ranchers, or the business of elk hunting tours. I am still new to this issue but I agree with Scott that we should at least let the legislature know how wolf viewing helps the local economy, such as lodging, food, etc.
I myself spent thousands of dollars this winter paying for hotel, food, hiring snow coach to go to the interior of the park, etc.
I remember so many times I saw when visitors saw their first wolves in their lives, it brought so much happiness on their face, and it may be one of very few places on earth where our future generation can still see wild wolves.
So please check out the link above and the PDF and decide what you can do.
I know that hunting and legislations are a very complicated topic and I am still learning more, but at least for the wolves of Yellowstone who are more acclimated and "trusting" to humans, there got to be a way to protect them once they wander out of the park...
Finally, here's a link about how wolves changed Yellowstone's whole ecosystem.