For the first time ever, a charge has been brought against someone for killing an endangered wolf in the Northern Rockies.
Chad McKittrick of Red Lodge, Montana, has been charged with killing the alpha male of the Rose Creek Pack (wolf number 10). The wolf was one of 14 that were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park last January.
McKittrick is a 42-year old unemployed carpenter. Affidavits filed in support of the charge said a hunting buddy told federal agents he saw McKittrick shoot the wolf. There has been an $11,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the wolf killer.
McKittrick told the "Jackson Hole News" that he thought he was shooting at a dog or a coyote. Federal agents found the head and hide of the 120 pound wolf at McKittrick's house.
The alpha female (no. 9) is still apparently on private land near Red Lodge, Montana with her 8 pups. Although the landower was reported in the media to be "happy" to have the wolf and her pups on his land, a news report in the Idaho Falls "Post Register" Monday said that this was not so.
The landowner has been offered $5000 by the private group, "Defenders of Wildlife" to leave the mother and pups alone and allow them to use his land. There is much discussion by the wolf program that the wolves should be moved back to the still-intact Rose Creek pen in the Park.
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© 1995 Ralph Maughan
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