Monday, August 8, 2016

Urgent! Save the Denali Wolves, halt the fall Wolf hunt near Denali National Park!


To:; dfg.commissioner@alaska.go; ;,,,,


Subject: Save the Denali Wolves, halt the fall Wolf hunt near Denali National Park!
Alaska Department of Fish & Game Commissioner Sam Cotten, Gov. Bill Walker, Don Striker, Denali National Park Superintendent, Int. Secr. Sally Jewell:

Please STOP wolf hunting in the Stampede Trail/Wolf Townships area just outside of the Park boundary!

The last remaining wolves of the famous Toklat pack - which frequented the northeastern Park road area and whose members were the most easily viewed by visitors - are likely dead.
This Spring the Toklat male and female denned barely one-half mile outside of the park on state land in the Stampede area.

The male was killed by a hunter in May, and later the female was observed with two pups at the den site.
However, for weeks neither the female nor the pups have been seen, and the den site is abandoned.
At less than four months old the pups would not be able to fend for themselves, and it is very unlikely that the female foraging alone could have provided enough food.

In less than two years, hunters and trappers - directly or indirectly - have decimated the wolf population on the northeastern side of Denali.

And the killing is set to continue: next Wednesday, August 10, the fall wolf hunting season is scheduled to open in the Stampede area!

So please: stop this hunt! and issue an emergency order closing the Stampede area to wolf hunting for the fall season!

A few points:

* The demise of the pack represents an immeasurable scientific loss. Toklat wolves (also known as the East Fork pack) were studied continuously for more than half a century, going back to Adolph Murie's study, begun in 1939, of the relationship between wolves and Dall sheep. The pack was the subject of Murie's classic book The Wolves of Mount McKinley published in 1944.

* In the most recent count by the National Park Service last spring, the Park's wolf population was down to 50 animals. That is the lowest spring count total since the semi-annual surveys began 30 years ago. That does not include the loss of the Toklat male, possibly the loss of the female, and the death of the pups, which would have offset other losses.

* A mere handful of hunters and trappers intentionally targeting wolves as they traverse or den in the Stampede area are causing very significant - and unsustainable - losses to the area's wolf population. According to the NPS, hunting and trapping killed three out of four radio-collared wolves from the Toklat (East Fork) pack just within the past year.

Yours sincerely: