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Alaska Fish And Game Employees Kill Entire Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve Wolf Pack


Alaska Fish and Game Department employees, who in the past have gunned down wolves that roam outside of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, have wiped out an entire pack that had claimed the preserve as part of its territory.

"The Alaska Department of Fish and Game eliminated all 11 members of the pack outside of the preserve last week as part of ADF&G’s ongoing aerial predator control program in the upper Yukon and Fortymile Rivers region," said Greg Dudgeon, the preserve's superintendent in a release Friday.

The pack had been monitored by Park Service researchers since 2007 as part of a decades-long ecological study. The research helped provide "detailed information about the condition of Interior Alaska’s wolves, how they disperse, and the numbers of wolves utilizing the preserve to den and raise pups," a Park Service release said.

"Removal of the Lost Creek pack follows similar losses from ADF&G predator control efforts last spring which killed 36 wolves in the area, reducing the population using the preserve by more than half," the release added.

Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve was created in 1980 by the Alaska Lands Act to maintain the environmental integrity of the Charley River basin in its undeveloped natural condition for public benefit and scientific study, and to protect populations of fish and wildlife, including wolves. As top predators, wolves have an important role in the natural functioning of ecosystems by regulating prey species.



Agreed, Lee. You can thank our former half-term governor for forcing that through.

Somehow the terms "protect populations of fish and wildlife, including wolves"and "kill the entire wolf pack" contradict each other.

How is this possible. Alaska apparently "pretends" to pride itself on being the last frontier. This sounds like a Fish and Game Department that's out of control or a legislature that's become citified. How sad!

Haven't we seen similar stories in the Traveler of Alaska's Fish & Game managing wolves in questionable (and what strikes me as horrific) ways?

Might have been helpful to have included the F&Gs rationale for the kill so that folks could have the full story before jumping to conclusions. Oh and it might be good to note in the story that Sarah Palin is no longer Governor of Alaska to some that may be up on the news.

The answer to your question, ec, is economics. Alaska officials prefer to encourage big game hunting over wildlife viewing. Wolves eat the big game that human hunters hunt. So Alaska's approach is to kill the wolves to provide more game for hunters (who buy hunting licenses, pay hunting guides, and stay in lodges).

It would be interesting to see a study comparing the revenue tied to wildlife viewing and to hunting in Alaska. After all, wildlife viewers also spend money on guides and lodging.

And it would be interesting to see the hunting pressure around Yukon-Charley Rivers. How many hunters pay to hunt there each year, and how much do they spend in total during their stay? And how much did it cost the state to send the plane up there with shooters to track and kill the wolves?

Idaho kills 23 wolves from helicopter this month in Lolo Zone

On the Value of Wolves

Murie's conclusions that wolves were not a scourge on the landscape - and his call for wolves to be protected, not exterminated - made him unpopular, even within the Park Service itself. But he persevered, and eventually many of his proposals were adopted.

Adolph Murie (1899-1974)

After visiting Mount McKinley National Park in Alaska as a 22-year-old college student, Adolph Murie was inspired to pursue his doctoral degree in biology. He became an important voice in preserving wild nature in national parks. He conducted a number of wildlife studies for the Park Service in a range of parks, the most significant being his landmark observations of wolves in their natural habitat at Mount McKinley. His conclusions that wolves were not a scourge on the landscape - and his call for wolves to be protected, not exterminated - made him unpopular, even within the Park Service itself. But he persevered, and eventually many of his proposals were adopted.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Murie objected to plans for building a paved highway into the heart of Mount McKinley National Park, and for a hotel and gas station near Wonder Lake. He won a partial victory when the Park Service ended the paving after the first 13 miles and abandoned the plans for the hotel and other construction.

Murie's half-brother Olaus, also a biologist, was an important figure in American conservation, serving as a director of the Wilderness Society and playing an instrumental role in the creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the passage of the Wilderness Act. Olaus' wife, Mardy, was his full partner in the conservation efforts and carried on after his death. She played a key role in the fight for creation of the Alaska parks in the late 1970s and was eventually awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

The Murie Center in Grand Teton National Park, created from a ranch given to the park by the families of the Murie brothers, continues their conservation work. On August 16, 2004, the Murie Science and Learning Center in Denali National Park was officially opened and dedicated to Adolph Murie, in honor of his work to enlarge and protect national parks and their wildlife populations.

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