One of the most popular wolves in Yellowstone National Park was killed by a hunter after wandering just outside the park last weekend, the New York Times reported Friday.
The shooting of the wild wolf Spitfire, also known as 926F, was within in hunting laws as Montana permitted the hunting of the wolves in 2011. According to The Times, several hundred are killed each year.
“A game warden checked with the hunter and everything about this harvest was legal,” Abby Nelson, a wolf management specialist with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, told The Times.
Spitfire, reportedly a favorite among wolf watchers who frequented the park, was the alpha female leader of the Lamar Canyon pack.
Her mother, the wolf famously known as “06,” was also quite the celebrity and had built a reputation for her hunting prowess.
The mother, who was also reportedly the subject of the book “American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West,” was killed by a hunter as well.
Spitfire reportedly left behind a daughter, which wolf watchers have named Little T.
The wolf’s death has reignited calls for Montana lawmakers to pass legislation to approve the creation of a buffer zone around the park so animals that have little fear of humans can wander more safely beyond Yellowstone’s boundaries.