Monday, 15 April 2013

Number of wolves in Alaska's Yukon-Charlie Preserve falls by 50 percent

Number of wolves in Alaska's Yukon-Charlie Preserve falls by 50 percent, The National Park Service (NPS) says the number of wolves in one of Alaska's national preserves has dropped by more than half.

Biologists at Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve reported last Thursday (April 11) that they conducted aerial surveys of the 2.5 million-acre conservation area and saw a substantial drop in the number of wolves in the national preserve in Interior Alaska.

Biologists say the drop is substantially more than normal but coincides with the state's predator control efforts to eliminate wolves near the preserve.

The park service says the fall-to-spring drop in the number of wolves that den or spend a portion of their lives in the preserve appears to be the highest on record.

Based on 20 years of data for wolves that use Yukon-Charley Rivers, a typical drop over the winter is in the 11% to 37% range.

In November 2012, biologists counted 80 wolves in nine packs. They now count between 28 and 39 wolves in six packs.

Park service managers will be closely watching this summer's production of wolf pups and considering whether it will be necessary to impose a delay in the opening of the fall sport season for wolf hunting and trapping.

"Looking ahead, we'll attempt to determine if this year's decline in wolves has put us in a position of needing to take a necessary conservation action," said Greg Dudgeon, Yukon-Charley Rivers Superintendent.

"Our intent is to preserve the environmental integrity envisioned by Congress when it established the preserve," Dudgeon added.

NPS policies aim to maintain natural processes, wildlife abundance and diversity, natural wildlife behavior, and not reduce a native species for the benefit of a harvested species.

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