By Katie Klingsporn 

Wyoming tourism social media goes dark amid wolf furor


April 18, 2024

As incident impacts ripple worldwide, state tourism agency is also temporarily suspending ‘all ads related to wildlife experience.’

Wyoming’s state tourism agency has suspended social media posts and paid ads relating to wildlife amid the worldwide furor over the wolf abuse and killing in Daniel.

The Wyoming Office of Tourism, also known as Travel Wyoming, alerted unknown recipients to the social media suspension in a letter obtained by WyoFile.

“I know you are all well aware of the public criticism over the wolf abuse by a resident,” read the email, which came from the office’s Senior Communication Manager Piper Singer Cunningham. “Over the past week, Travel Wyoming and many other state agencies are at the forefront of a social boycott. As a result, we have paused all paid and organic social media until further notice, along with ads related to wildlife experiences.”

Travel Wyoming’s Executive Director Diane Shober offered little detail when pressed. In a statement to WyoFile, she stressed that the incident — when Daniel resident Cody Roberts ran down a young wolf on a snowmobile, muzzled the wounded animal and then showed it off at the bar before killing it — “is not reflective of the values of the State of Wyoming.”

“As the travel and tourism industry, wildlife is a primary reason why people come to Wyoming, and its protection and preservation are of utmost importance to us,” Shober said. “We encourage all visitors to respect and cherish Wyoming’s wildlife and natural resources.”

Though it routinely posted several times a day before the incident, Travel Wyoming hasn’t posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, and Instagram since April 10, and to Facebook since April 11. Shober’s office will continue monitoring the situation to determine when best to resume marketing and content.


Much of the rage aimed at Wyoming stems from the scale of the penalty Roberts received — $250 for violating laws prohibiting the possession of live wildlife. Roberts allegedly encountered the wolf in the “predator zone,” where there are few rules on how and when wolves can be killed. Photographs and video later came out showing him parading the muzzled animal in the bar.

Wyoming wildlife officials contend that animal cruelty statutes don’t apply to predatory species and the state has no further legal avenue to punish Roberts. That has created a public relations nightmare as outraged calls and letters pour in, including threats. Some individuals even drove thousands of miles early this week just to sound off before Wyoming’s Game and Fish Commission. (In the wake of that outrage, the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office announced it had launched its own investigation into Roberts’ actions. That work is not yet complete.)

Travel Wyoming has experienced the blowback as well. Its latest Instagram post offers evidence. The April 10 post shows horseback riders crossing a river with the caption “Who are you bringing along for your horseback adventure?”

It had received 219 comments as of Friday. The first five include:

“Wyoming : Where liberty means being evil and cruel to our wildlife.”

“We were planning on getting married in Wyoming. We are joining the rest of the nation in boycotting travel to your state.”

“Sad to say I’ve seen what Daniel, Wyoming is in the news for. My favorite summer road trips have been driving through Wyoming. As your neighbor in Oregon, my dollars are better spent elsewhere.”


“Won’t be bringing anything. I’ll be staying well away from the state that endorses animal cruelty.”

Tarnished reputation?

Some 200 outdoor recreation industry professionals gathered Thursday and Friday in Casper for the Wyoming Outdoor Recreation Summit. Gear manufacturers, Forest Service employees, retail business owners and guides spent two days discussing issues like housing crunches, manufacturing opportunities and the economic might of outdoor visits.

Near the end of the second day, Office of Outdoor Recreation Manager Patrick Harrington said he hadn’t detected a discernable impact of the incident on tourism in Wyoming. If anything, he said, he’s witnessed the people of Wyoming come together to wholesale reject what happened and reinforce their respect for wildlife.

“My hope is that people will see that perspective, and not judge the whole state based on the actions of one person,” Harrington said.

Tips for complaints

“Do not engage with comments or posts related to the wolf,” Travel Wyoming’s letter recommended. It also urged its recipients to refrain from sharing personal opinions on the matter, keep up to date on recent developments surrounding the incident and remain calm.

“We will not be issuing any public statements or engaging with any social comments,” it continued.

WyoFile is an independent nonprofit news organization focused on Wyoming people,

places and policy.


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