Current and past TWS presidents urge Wyoming to address wildlife abuse

Wildlife professional leaders are appalled by recent events involving the abuse and frivolous killing of a gray wolf in western Wyoming

In a letter to Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, the president and president-elect of The Wildlife Society—along with 23 past presidents—condemned the actions of an individual who allegedly ran over a gray wolf with a snowmobile and proceeded to callously display and photograph the animal before killing it.

In their letter, these professionals—each with decades of experience in wildlife research, management and conservation—expressed their disgust at the long delay in killing this injured wolf. The events, which occurred near Daniel, Wyoming, in February, sparked local and global outrage.

“The Wildlife Society supports responsible human use of wildlife where such use is an appropriate human activity,” said TWS President Bob Lanka, a Wyoming resident and retired Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologist. “But this wasn’t hunting—it was intentional inhumane disabling, compounded by unnecessary suffering and delayed killing of wildlife, which has no place in our system of wildlife management.”

These longstanding leaders in The Wildlife Society urged Gov. Gordon to work with state legislators to swiftly remedy the lack of statutory laws that currently render the pursuit and harming or killing of wolves and other wildlife with snow machines—or other vehicles—legal in Wyoming.

“Every ethical hunter knows and every hunter education student is taught that one of their primary responsibilities is to take an animal quickly and humanely in order to minimize suffering,” the presidents wrote. “In this instance hunting was not involved, only inhumane handling, unnecessary suffering, and delayed killing.”

Read the position statements of The Wildlife Society on Responsible Human Use of Wildlife, Hunting, and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

Header Image: Wyoming lacks laws against the pursuit and harming or killing of wolves with snow machines or other vehicles in a portion of the state where they are statutorily defined as a predatory animal. Credit: John and Karen Hollingsworth/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service