The Alexander Archipelago wolves (Canis lupus ligoni) often dig dens in the large roots of trees and hunt the black-tailed deer around Sitka for food. Now, the animals are facing four months of legal hunting and poaching, with already low numbers that might lead to their extinction upon the grounds if measures aren’t taken.
During the 1990s, the Prince of Wales Island had a population of around 300 wolves, with the numbers gradually falling through the years. In 2014, their population fell to 221, to then drastically plummet to 89 in June this year. Only last winter, 29 wolves were trapped and poached.
Their recovery is not in the slightest encouraged by the state and federal officials giving permission to track down and kill 9 more of them in the following four months.
The hunting season began in September and will be ongoing until the end of the year, which will further damage the numbers of Alexander Archipelago wolves. Their population is already suffering from health issues and inbreeding, so hunting will only add more fuel to the fire that might just extinguish this particular species of wolves in the Prince of Wales Island and surrounding areas.
The six conservation groups, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community, Greenpeace and The Boat Company, have requested an emergency listing for the Alexander Archipelago wolves on the Endangered Species Act.
Their petition to stop the legal hunting season this year has already been rejected, according to Gabriel Scott from Cascadia Wildlands. The petitioner has stated that the management of wolf hunts is reckless and poor, due to the fact that they are not treating them as a perishing species, in spite of their severe fall in numbers.
Noah Greenwald from Center for Biological Diversity has also stated that 9 wolves to be killed this season is far too much, and that allowing it is like “sucker-punching a heart-attack victim”, diminishing an already small population and pouring salt to the injury.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to deliver an answer by December, but this year’s season will continue and nine more Alexander Archipelago wolves will be legally harvested.
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US Wildlife Department told to Ban Hunting of Wolves, Prepare List of Species
Submitted by Gloria Bradley on Tue, 09/15/2015
The animal conservation groups have directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to put a stop on hunting and trapping of Alexander Archipelago wolves till end of the year and prepare a list of the emergency endangered species of wolves.
Alexander Archipelago wolves are mostly found in the root systems of bigger trees. They feast on Sitka black-tailed deer. The species of wolves found on Prince of Wales Island are genetically different from those found in the Tongass National Forest.
The US Wildlife department has been directed to submit the final list of endangered species by December 31, this year.
Larry Edwards from Greenpeace said that hunting and poaching activities could potentially affect the population of Alexander Archipelago wolves as the numbers are already declining.
“We could be down to not many wolves. It’s trending toward zero. A ban on hunting and trapping would let the population rebound and prevent it from being snuffed out by health issues that accompany inbreeding,” he said.
According to the six wildlife conservation groups that wrote to the US department, around 300 wolves were present in the Prince of Wales two decades ago. The number went down to 89 in 2014 and now reduced to 50, as per estimates of Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
In addition 29 wolves were lost into poaching during the past winters.