Update: Alexander Archipelago Wolves on Prince of Wales—Response from Board of Game

Our pressure on Alaskan officials is working!

If you haven’t already sent the three automated emails found in this post, please take action as soon as you have a moment.

Below, find the response to our letters from Eddie Grasser, Director, Wildlife Conservation (ADF&G):

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your email expressing concern for the Game Management Unit 2 (Unit 2) wolf population. As managers of the state’s fish and game resources, we at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) recognize our obligations under the public trust doctrine and our responsibility to current and future generations. Further, Alaska’s Constitution mandates that fish and game populations be managed on a sustained yield basis, and direction from the Alaska Board of Game (Board) is to maintain a fall Unit 2 wolf population of 150-200 wolves.

We agree that the fall 2019 Unit 2 wolf harvest was high and if repeated year after year, would be unsustainable. In fall 2019 harvest regulations changed, and we believe the high harvest resulted from much greater than anticipated trapping effort. Over the last ten years an average of about 15 trappers have reported harvesting wolves in Unit 2, but in 2019 32 trappers reported harvesting wolves. The primary change in harvest regulations in the fall of 2019 was that instead of announcing a pre-season harvest quota, we announced a season length. The 2018 trapping season was managed under a harvest quota and was open for 5 weeks (Nov 15 – Dec 21). The 2019 trapping season was open for 8 weeks, less than half of the maximum season length allowed in regulation. It is unclear why this change would inspire a doubling in trapper participation.

Over the next several months ADF&G biologists will gather additional information about the status of the Unit 2 wolf population including anecdotal reports of wolves from department staff and Unit 2 residents, den site investigations, and our fall 2019 population estimate. Population estimates require about one year to complete because they require months of fieldwork to noninvasively sample individual wolves and laboratory analysis to extract DNA. Consequently, the fall 2019 population estimate will be available in September 2020.

Once that information is in hand, ADF&G biologists and leadership will set fall 2020 harvest opportunity consistent with our constitutional mandate and provisions in the Unit 2 Wolf Management Plan with the goal of maintaining or returning the population to within the objective range. A reduced or closed season is among the options we will consider.

Thanks again for your interest.

Eddie Grasser, Director

Again, if you have not sent the three pre-written emails to Alaskan officials regarding this past season’s “over harvest” of Alexander Archipelago wolves on Prince of Wales, please find them here—take action.

Thank you for speaking up for the few remaining wolves on POW, Alaska.

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