Yellowstone National Park officials have kept tabs on the four wolves — three males and a female — since their high-profile residency south of Mammoth, a stint that included some high-profile elk killings and enough fans to cause Park officials to close off roadside access to their den. After a while, Park officials took the initiative and hazed the foursome with rubber bullets and cracker shells when they came too close to Mammoth.
The four took the hint and decamped to the Hayden Valley, where they’ve been model citizens.
What is a little disturbing, though, is what’s considered model wolf behavior. Consider this quote from Park biologist Doug Smith:
“They haven’t been on the road once this summer,” Smith said. “I think wolves are teachable. The hazing we’ve done seems to be working.”
Question: Do we want to be teaching wolves, especially when they’re not really interacting with human beings? Yes, we know a pack of wolves living next to a high-traffic area like Mammoth can be a pain for Park officials — as much for the gaggle of tourists as the wolves themselves. But it seems contrary to the spirit of Yellowstone National Park to be “teaching” animals for the convenience of humans.
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