The '06 Female

aka 832F: 832 refers to the radio collar assigned to her and F refers to female.

She was 06. She is a legend.

Born in 2006 into the Agate Creek pack and later radio-collared 832F, she became immortalized as Oh-Six for her birth year. 06 was athletic and graceful, with a strong, broad chest and beautiful gray coat. When 06 left her birth pack to make her own way in the world, she had her pick of male suitors. A pair of black-coated brothers, known as 754M and 755M, caught her attention, and she howled to them in her deep, smoky voice. After the trio met, they became inseparable. Led by 06, the new Lamar Canyon pack made their home in Lamar Valley on the former Druid Peak pack territory of her illustrious ancestors.

Jimmy Jones Photography
Michelle Holihan/Almay Stock

With the birth of pups that spring, the Lamars would become one of the most recognized wolf packs ever! Brothers 754M and 755M were younger than 06 and less experienced hunters, which gave 06 the responsibility of providing for the growing family — and provide she did! One of 06s many assets was her incredible hunting prowess. She could take down elk by herself, an awe-inspiring feat of strength and intelligence for a wolf to accomplish.

06 raised three litters of pups — 13 in total — all of whom survived their first year. As many as 60% of wolf pups die in their first year, so her pups' 100% survival rate made her not only an exceptional mother, but also an important contributor to the restoration of the gray wolf species in America. When 06s last litter of pups was newly born and especially vulnerable, a much larger rival wolf pack invaded her den site. Recognizing the immediate danger, 06 cleverly diverted the rival packs' attention to herself and they followed her in pursuit. 06s actions saved her pups and no pack member was injured.

A bonafide matriarch and international celebrity, 06 was the most famous wolf in the world!

Although 06s leadership ensured her family thrived, she had no control over the actions of the humans around her. In 2012, wolves in the state of Wyoming were abruptly removed from the federal endangered species list after having been protected since 1974. State legislators quickly authorized a wolf trophy hunt, and suddenly Yellowstone wolves crossing into Wyoming were in grave danger.

That November, Lamar Valley was blanketed with fresh snow and most of the elk had migrated outside of Yellowstone to winter at lower elevation. Although 06 and her family of twelve rarely set paw outside the park, they followed their food source into Wyoming. A trophy hunter was ready and waiting. On November 11, he killed noble and gentle giant 754M, the doting uncle and ever patient babysitter to the pups each year.

Concerned about 754M's disappearance, 06 led her Lamar Canyon pack back to Yellowstone to look for him there. Wolf watchers could tell the family was very sad without 754M. 06 howled for him as she had years ago, but received no response. Never one to quit at anything, 06 turned her family around and returned to Wyoming to look some more, not knowing 754M was gone forever.

Another trophy hunter heard about the big, black wolf that was killed, and he set out to score his own prize. On December 6, 06 and 755M heard the cry of a dying cottontail rabbit and went to investigate. Instead of catching a meal for their family, they saw a human with a whistle in his mouth. The trophy hunter had used the whistle to lure them to him and pointed something at them. 06 didn't sense the danger; visitors to Yellowstone pointed scopes and cameras at her family all the time. The hunter had 06 in his crosshairs. The blast echoed through the woods; 06 fell to the ground in pain as the bullet tore through her. She tried desperately to warn her family of the danger, but her life slipped away as her sons and daughters gathered around her, howling in anguish.  

Jimmy Jones Photography

The beloved Yellowstone wolf and legendary alpha female should have been allowed a burial in her Lamar Valley homeland. However, 06s dead body was the hunter's property to do with as he pleased. He gutted her, and preserved her skin and fur for trophy. The awe-inspiring 06 had become simply a decoration. While the hunter could brag about his trophy wolf, 06s family mourned her death. Soon afterwards, the mighty Lamar Canyon pack — a dominant pack in Yellowstone's Northern Range — fragmented as a result of the broken social structure. If that wasn't enough, just six years later, 06's daughter 926F was killed by yet another hunter's bullet.

06s life inspired millions and her death broke our hearts, but her legacy brings together wolf enthusiasts, advocates and guardians who envision and fight for a world in which wolves and humans coexist peacefully and respectfully. The icon of her species is leading the way in death as she did her entire life.

For you, 06

Jimmy Jones Photography

We are grateful to award-winning, internationally published wildlife and nature photographer Jimmy Jones for celebrating 06 through his incredible images. Jimmy has many more images of 06 and her Lamar Canyon pack on his website, as well as a blog dedicated to her memory. He has also provided many other amazing photos throughout The 06 Legacy website. Thank you for sharing, Jimmy!