Park Officials At Yellowstone Shooting Wolves With Paintballs
In an effort to control wolf populations during heavy tourist months, wildlife officials at Yellowstone National Park are using force, but not the kind one might think.
Park officers at the world's first national park are combating unwanted tourist and wolf interactions with guns. The projectiles from these guns are filled with gelatin and dye, instead of lead.
The Daily Beast has reported that paintballs are being shot at wolves throughout Yellowstone National Park in an attempt to keep them out of heavily populated areas. Every year there are numerous reports of injuries involving park tourists and wildlife.
With the arrival of May and the warmer weather at the park, Yellowstone's animal population is thriving, and on the hunt. Since 2015, an average of 4 million people have visited the park, which results in numerous standoffs between tourists and wildlife.
In 2020, the wolf population in the park was estimated at just under 100. Park officials have taken up using paintball guns instead of lethal force to keep the apex predators at bay. Between 2019 and 2020, there was an increase in the wolf population of the eight reported packs by close to 50%, according to park statistics. These numbers fluctuate primarily due to food availability.
Each state with land that is found within park borders regulates the hunting practices of the wolf population differently. This year is expected to see a record numbers of visitors to the park due to safety measures put forth in 2020 because of Covid-19, which prevented many visitors from having access to certain areas of Yellowstone.