- Associated Press - Saturday, July 11, 2015

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - A young male wolf has been hit and killed on the main highway running through Grand Teton National Park.

The collision happened late Tuesday on Highway 26/89/191. It was called in by the motorist who struck the black 75-pound wolf.

“The person who hit it, it sounded like they were hauling a trailer, so he couldn’t swerve because he was concerned about what it might do to the trailer he was hauling,” Grand Teton spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs told the Jackson Hole News & Guide (https://bit.ly/1Cx0pjM ).

The wolf was identified as a member of the Phantom Springs Pack based on its whereabouts and its black color. The pack roams the area of eastern Grand Teton.

It’s not commonplace for motorists in Grand Teton National Park to hit wolves, but in the past five years it has happened an average of once a year.

In the same period, a dozen bears in the park have been hit and killed.

Highway 26/89/191 and the adjacent Elk Ranch Flats area have proven fatal for wolves and other wildlife in the past and is regarded as a wildlife-vehicle collision hotspot, Skaggs said.

“When I looked back, there’s been more than one wolf hit in that area, partly because it’s in territory that different wolf packs have occupied,” Skaggs said. “They’re in that area and likely crossing the road.”

In late 2011, Grand Teton managers reduced the nighttime speed limit to 45 miles per hour on Highway 26/89/191, which sees “a lot more” wildlife-vehicle collisions than lower-speed park areas such as Teton Park Road, Skaggs said.

So far there has not been a large decrease in road-killed wildlife.

“We’ve continued to have a steady number of these incidents,” Skaggs said, “about 100 animals per year.”

But factoring in increased visitation and traffic, there does appear to be some reduction that can be traced to the lower speed limit, she said.

“Since we implemented this new 45 mph speed limit at night, we feel like there’s been at least some success in trying to keep a lid on the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions,” Skaggs said.

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Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, https://www.jhnewsandguide.com

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