Pluie the Gray Wolf
Ever wonder where the idea for the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative originated? A well-travelled wolf gave scientists the idea. Pluie, a five-year-old female gray wolf, was fitted with a radio-collar and satellite transmitter in Alberta's Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in June of1991. For two years, Pluie's signal was tracked as she travelled 100,000 square kilometers (40,000 square miles) – an area 15 times larger than Banff National Park and 10 times larger than Yellowstone National Park. She moved through Banff National Park, into British Columbia, across the US border and through Glacier National Park to Montana, through Idaho and then into Washington state before heading north again to British Columbia. In 1993, near Fernie, BC Pluie's collar issued its last signal. It was learned later that the collar's battery was destroyed by a bullet. Two years later, Pluie was found still wearing hercollar near Invermere, BC after a hunter legally shot her and her mate, along with their three pups.
Pluie's story reminds us that parks and protected areas, no matter how large, cannot be relied upon to ensure future healthy populations of large mammals. These species use landscapes on a scale that is larger than any single park, or than even a network of parks. Integrated approaches to management that recognize the large-scale movement of many animals, and the need for coordinated responses from many levels of government and private land managers, are necessary.
Map provided by: Alberta Tourism, Parks Recreation and Culture and Paul Paquet.