A wolf pack killed a total of 19 elk in a suspected "surplus killing" in Wyoming.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has confirmed the tragic incident after it performed its investigation on site.
The Details Of The 'Surplus Killing'
The remains of the elk were found on Thursday morning at one of the department's feeding areas, near Bondurant, which is a community located at the southeast portion of Jackson.
"We went and investigated it and it turned out to be a total of 19 that we found and documented," says regional wildlife supervisor John Lund. He adds that out of the 19 carcasses, 17 were calves and the remaining two were adult cows.
Lund explains that a number of wolves arrived during the night and killed the elk.
Rarity Of The Incident
Authorities are stunned by the recent incident because such surplus killing is considered highly rare.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Mike Jimenez says wolves, unlike humans, do not consider killing as a sports activity. In fact, he was part of a team who conducted an eight year research that investigated elk feeding grounds. In general, wolves do not slay something that it would not eat.
Lund attests to the rarity of the surplus killing by saying that one or two elf killings per night is quite common and is not really much of a big deal, but seeing 19 carcasses just after one night is fairly uncommon.
The Pack To Pay
The good thing about the situation is that authorities know which wolf pack was responsible for the killings.
Lund says it is the pack that has been hitting the same feeding ground. As far as the team can tell, it is the so-called Rim Pack, which had about nine wolves.
Unfortunately, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department does not have the authority to follow up the surplus killing. This is because only the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the jurisdiction to enact on the problem.
While the department is responsible for the management and supervision of the feeding grounds, the wolves are outside the scope of their responsibility.