A volunteer effort has been able to remove a trapper's snare from around the neck of a wolf in Denali National Park and Preserve. Unfortunately, a second wolf that also was caught up in a snare has not been seen.
The wolves, their faces swollen, grotesquely so in one, were snared earlier this winter outside the park. Somehow they broke part of the cable and escaped, but the tightened loops around their necks remained. They recently returned to Denali.
The freed wolf, a large, gray male, had been spotted by several National Park Service employees last Thursday near Denali's Savage River Campground. On Friday park wildlife biologist Tom Meier and a local veterinarian, Dr. Denise Albert, were able to track the wolf from the air thanks to a fresh snowfall. The two located the wounded wolf on a ridge near the Savage River bridge, which is about 15 miles up the park road.
The animal was immobilized with a tranquilizer dart, and Dr. Albert cleaned the wound and administered antibiotics. While the snare was deeply embedded in the wolf’s neck, the wound was not badly infected and Dr. Albert believes the wolf will survive its injuries. Afterwards the wolf rejoined the smaller wolf that it was traveling with, which may be its mate. The pair of wolves was seen along the park road on Saturday and Sunday, and the injured wolf seems to be recovering.
The Park Service took this action as the injury to the wolf was not due to natural causes.
Park staffers had been attempting to locate and treat the animal since the injury was first reported in late February. There had been several sightings, but the animal would be gone by the time staff could get to the site.
The second wolf with a snare around its neck had been traveling with the East Fork wolf pack, but has not been seen recently.