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.