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By Posie Buffington
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY – Yellowstone officers reported two wolf pups were killed after they were struck by a vehicle near Tower Junction and the Northeast Entrance on Tuesday evening, November 19.
Park officers say the pups belonged to the Junction Butte Pack–one was male and the other was female.
According to park officers, the pack lived in a den nearby a busy hiking trail in the northeastern portion of the park and became too comfortable around humans summer of 2019.
Their den was closed off by park officials in order to prevent human and pup interaction. However, some visitors failed to obey the 100-yard separation from wildlife rule and interacted with the pups when they came close to the trail.
Yellowstone’s senior wolf biologist Doug Smith said, “Having studied these pups since birth, I believe their exposure to, and fearlessness of people and roads could have been a factor in their death.”
Park officials say they tried to deter the pups from approaching people, but they say the efforts did not work.
The park urges people to follow the 100-yard rule to prevent animals from getting too comfortable with humans and to report anyone who disobeys to a park ranger.