Denver, CO

Defenders of Wildlife recently learned of a horrific incident regarding the torture of a juvenile gray wolf by a Wyoming man. Michael Saul, Rockies and Plains Program Director, released the following statement in reaction to this news:

"I was saddened and appalled yesterday when recent evidence released by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department confirmed the truth of the horrifying allegations of animal abuse coming out of Wyoming. Deeply disturbing video images and law enforcement reports confirm that a Wyoming resident captured and tortured a juvenile gray wolf, showed it off at a bar, then murdered it, receiving only a nominal $250 fine for illegal possession of a live wolf. 

Obviously, conservationists, livestock producers, and hunters disagree on many aspects of wolf recovery and management. However, I believe that we can all come together in agreeing that the reprehensible torture and abuse of this wolf are utterly indefensible and carry zero relationship to any form of ethical or responsible wildlife management. Torturing, exhibiting and killing an intelligent and social animal simply to revel in its suffering should and does offend every decent person’s moral core.

Unfortunately, I cannot say that this latest atrocity is surprising, because it is the permissible and predictable result of Wyoming’s policy decisions. By establishing a “predator zone” across more than 80% of the state, Wyoming has expressly authorized the killing of wolves without limit on season, number or method, no matter how morally abhorrent. Recent horrors confirm what we have known – the “predator zone” has no foundation in conflict minimization, responsible livestock management or the principles of ethical hunting and fair chase. It is long past time for the State of Wyoming to join its neighbors in recognizing the reality that wolves have a place in their native landscape of the Rocky Mountains and undertake long-overdue reform of its indefensible policy."

For over 75 years, Defenders of Wildlife has remained dedicated to protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife for generations to come. To learn more, please visit or follow us on X @Defenders.


Media Contact

Communications Director
(202) 772-0217



A family group of southern resident orcas chasing a salmon - Image taken from an unmanned hexacopter at more than100ft - NOAA SWFSC, SR3 and the Coastal Ocean Research Institute - NMFS permit #19091 (1).jpg

Clean Water, Healthy Futures: Orca Month Targets Toxics

May 22, 2024 – Volunteers and advocates across Washington will speak out against toxic pollutants that harm orcas, salmon and people during Orca Action Month
2001 - Polar Bears - Mom and Cubs - Steven Amstrup USGS.jpg
Washington, DC

More than 200 Species Need Protection from International Commercial Trade, Defenders and Partners Tell Biden Administration

Defenders of Wildlife, together with NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council) and Center for Biological Diversity, today asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to seek a ban on commercial trade for more than 200 species of animals and plants that are threatened with extinction, including reindeer, turtles, sea otters, tarantulas, aquarium fish, sharks, frogs, orchids, trees and over 50 coral species.