Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte flouted state regulations by trapping and shooting a wolf—who was being tracked by wildlife biologists through a radio collar—on a private ranch owned by one of his donors, Sinclair broadcasting mogul Robert E. Smith. Boise State Public Radio reports that Gianforte didn’t complete a mandated wolf-trapping course before killing the animal, which was born in the protected environs of Yellowstone National Park and apparently wandered north to find a mate. Despite breaking the rules, the state wildlife agency let the Republican governor keep the wolf’s skull and hide and issued a warning.
Trapping wolves is seen by some as cruel and unethical, and Jonathan Proctor of Defenders of Wildlife noted the animals draw people to Yellowstone. “The fact that they can be killed so easily, right on the edge of the park in the state of Montana, for only a few dollars for a permit to trap a wolf—it makes no sense, either ecologically or economically,” he said. Gianforte’s office said he has now enrolled in the course.