Some call her a rock star, others “06,” 832F, or the most famous wolf in the world. Anyway you cut it, her reach was remarkable for a wild animal that had nothing to do with the numerous monikers she was given. Sadly, her celebrity swelled to national proportions when last week this often viewed beast became a hunter’s prize. Wolf “06″, the 6-year-old gray alpha female of the Yellowstone’s Lamar Canyon Pack, was shot in Wyoming by a hunter just 16 miles beyond the safety of Yellowstone National Park’s border. She was killed in Wyoming’s “trophy zone” in the northwest corner of the state. News of her death hit wolf-watchers from around the world hard, evoking emotions of hate, grief, and despair. “06″ has since become a media phenomenon leaving wildlife advocates with hope that her stardom will demonstrate to the public and decision makers the great educational, scientific, and economic impact Yellowstone wolves can have and the unnatural challenges they currently face to keep a place on the western landscape. Wolf Conservation Center staff, volunteers, and supporters are among the lucky who were able to behold 06 thriving on the Yellowstone landscape. Here are some original WCC blog posts recounting encounters with the wild rule-breaker we called “06.”
DAY ONE IN YELLOWSTONE by Maggie Howell – June 30, 2010
The Wolf Conservation Center’s Yellowstone Adventure is off to an incredible start! The WCC’s education crew met up with fellow adventurers and WCC supporters on Monday afternoon and within less than 24 hours we encountered dozens of diverse species. Although the official count has yet to be determined, all of us agree that the number isn’t why our first full day in the park far exceeded our expectations. The awesome interactions among the different species are what made our day so special. I won’t recount them all, but two exciting highlights presented nail-biting predator-prey interactions.
Early in the morning we watched the industrious four-year-old “Gray female 06” of the Lamar Canyon Pack attempt making a kill all on her own. We were captivated by the intense chase for quite some time. This beautiful wolf, with looks similar to that of WCC’s ambassador wolf Lukas, pursued a bull elk in and out of powerful rivers until she finally conceded – no doubt to the relief of her prey. Once Gray female 06 retreated to the lush sage brush on higher ground, she was welcomed by her four hungry and playful pups! We wondered where the two males that comprise the rest of her pack could have been, perhaps they were the culprits causing several coyotes to yip and howl on the opposite hill.
DAY ONE IN YELLOWSTONE by National Wolfwatcher Coalition’s Founding Board Member Diane Bentivegna - July 8, 2011
Renowned throughout the world for its natural wonders, inspiring scenery and mysterious wild nature, America’s first national park certainly lived up to its extraordinary reputation today. From the unique geological features of the park to the breathtaking mountain environs, visiting Yellowstone became a dream realized for 17 eager nature-enthusiasts who joined the WCC’s educational team on a wildlife expedition that will long be remembered as both unique and personally enriching on so many different levels.
Towering 50 feet over us as we arrived through the North Entrance, the Roosevelt Arch, Yellowstone’s first major gateway, welcomed us via the town of Gardiner, a vibrant and hospitable western town. With so many different animal species populating Yellowstone, we knew it was impossible to conclude this trip without sighting a myriad of the park’s wild inhabitants. And, just as anticipated, an amazing display of free roaming wildlife quickly materialized, captivating our excitement and utter joy!
Personally, a dream was realized on the very first day of my very first visit to this extraordinary natural wonderland! Female 06 of the Lamar Canyon Pack was my first wild wolf sighting….ever! Her amazing reputation for being the pack’s rock star/female alpha intrigued me from the earliest stories I have heard about her – her amazing devotion to her pack, her stunning hunting prowess and her inspiring spirit of wild independence awed me. To see her emerge among the vast brush of Slough Creek, carrying meat from a recent kill to feed her newest arrivals back at the den, was the whole purpose for my participation with the WCC expedition this year. When I saw that she was joined by her yearlings, as well, this vision made my 2000 mile trek to America’s West go well beyond my expectations! I feel honored that 06 and the rest of the Lamar Canyon pack welcomed me to their wild home and allowed me to share these extraordinary images …memories that I shall remember for the rest of my life!