AK: Some suspect ex-local hunter killed beloved Alaskan wolf
June 1, 2010
Some suspect ex-local hunter killed beloved Alaskan wolf
Romeo, the handsome black wolf that became a symbol of Juneau, Alaska.
Romeo was the most famous wolf in Alaska, a state that has many wild
For six years, the uncommon, black-phase gray wolf hung out around
Mendenhall Glacier near the capital city of Juneau, roughhousing with dogs
and following hikers.
He even had his own fan club and his story was told on National Public
The wolf, however, mysteriously disappeared last fall and many accusing
fingers are being pointed at a former Mount Joy Borough man.
Alaska State Police 12 days ago arrested Park H. Myers III, 40, of
Juneau, formerly of Mount Joy, and a friend, Jeffrey Peacock, 46, of
Lebanon, for illegally killing a black wolf around the time Romeo
disappeared. They also were cited for illegally killing two black bears.
Myers, an ardent hunter and trapper who moved to Juneau about five years
ago, is charged with taking big game (the wolf) by unlawful methods, baiting
bears without a permit and three counts of unlawful possession of game.
Peacock, described as a friend, was arrested for unsworn falsification,
taking big game in a closed area, baiting bears without a permit and three
counts of unlawful possession of game. Both have pleaded not guilty and are
awaiting trial. Both are free on bail.
According to a police affidavit, Myers told a U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service special agent that he shot a wolf on Sept. 22 on the Eagle River
Trail, an area about 10 miles from where Romeo was last seen.
Myers told the agent he "panicked" when he realized the wolf might be
Romeo. Peacock agreed to claim he was the shooter when the wolf was taken to
a state checking station, according to the affidavit.
That way, Myers, a Juneau resident, wouldn't be reviled by his fellow
residents, Aaron Frenzel, a wildlife trooper with the Alaska Department of
Public Safety, suggested in an interview Tuesday. Wolf season was open at
the time, but Myers used a small-caliber rifle - a .22-caliber rimfire rifle
- not a more powerful centerfire rifle as required by law, Frenzel said.
The two hunters also were charged with hunting violations for setting
bait sites to attract bears in an area that was closed to baiting, Frenzel
A pelt of a black wolf was recovered from an area taxidermist the men
took the carcass to, Frenzel said.
Is it Romeo?
State troopers have not permitted the pelt, which is evidence, to be
publicly examined, but Frenzel said "that's quite possible at a later date."
"I know it would bring closure to the community, so we may do that," he
Harry Robinson, founding member of Friends of Romeo, said Romeo had
distinctive markings, such as scarring down the base of his neck and upper
back that would make identification possible.
Robinson told the Juneau Empire newspaper that he was "100 percent sure"
the wolf Myers shot was Romeo. Robinson also said he had uncontaminated
samples of Romeo's fur that might make possible a DNA test.
After his arraignment on May 25, Myers strongly denied that the wolf was
"You'd be a complete moron if you thought that wolf was Romeo," he told
the Juneau Empire reporter. "A complete moron. I know a gray wolf from a
black one. I know a 70-pound wolf from a 140-pound wolf."
Efforts to contact Myers through his parents were unsuccessful.
Frenzel said the area where the wolf was shot is about 10 miles from
where Romeo was frequently seen.
Romeo was first noticed in 2003 around Mendenhall Glacier, about 13 miles
outside of Juneau, a city of 31,000.
The regal, mature wolf estimated last year to be 7 or 8 years old and 140
pounds, was always alone. He frequently approached people and their dogs on
the frozen Mendenhall Lake. Some hiked with him almost daily.
There were many encounters during which Romeo would play with dogs,
sometimes jumping straight up in the air and playing tug of war, according
to accounts in Alaska. On occasion, the wolf would be bitten but not
retaliate. He apparently liked being chased by other canines.
But he was known on at least several occasions to grab and carry smaller
dogs in his mouth before dropping them and was a suspect in the
disappearance of a beagle and Pomeranian.
Romeo was last sighted on Sept. 18, four days before Myers said he shot a
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