Non-lethal projectiles used against Yellowstone wolves too comfortable with people

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A wolf from the Wapiti Lake Pack surveys the scene near a roadside carcass on Feb. 20, 2021, in northern Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The park has resorted to aggressively hazing members of the pack that have shown little fear of humans, snowmobiles, snow coaches, and cars. (Ryan Dorgan/Jackson Hole News & Guide via AP)

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park is using paintballs, rubber bullets and flying beanbags to haze wolves that have become too comfortable around people.

Biologist Doug Smith got permission from park rangers to use the non-lethal projectiles when members of the Wapiti Pack began traveling along roads and getting close to tourists on snowmobiles.

Park workers were instructed to fire on the wolves only during “teachable moments,” when they’d associate the pain with their nearness to humankind. The hazing worked on one wolf that had become so used to people that it took a photographer’s tripod in November 2019.

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