Archive for the ‘Alaska’ Tag

Just 89 of these Alaskan wolves remain, but are they endangered?   6 comments

January 6, 2016 – Source

This image provided by the National Park Service shows a gray wolf in the wild.

Just 89 of these Alaskan wolves remain, but are they endangered? The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced Tuesday that Southeast Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago wolf does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), even though its population has seriously declined on the Prince of Wales Island.

The USFWS suggests in a November Species Status Assessment that the Alexander Archipelago wolf population occupying Prince of Wales Island declined by 75 percent between 1994 and 2014, from 356 to 89 individuals.

The agency identified a number of stresses impacting local populations, but “most of them have the potential to affect wolves indirectly, not directly.” Notable stresses included timber harvest, climate-related events, road development, and wolf hunting.

And while climate changes and timber clearing can limit the population of deer, the wolves’ main food source, wolf hunting is the only stressor with direct mortality. Road development may seem like an arbitrary stressor, but the USFWS says it gives hunters and trappers better access to wolf populations.

All of these stresses affect individual wolves either directly or indirectly, but the USFWS said in a Tuesday press release that the island wolves don’t qualify for ESA protection because “the population does not persist in an unusual or unique ecological setting; loss of the population would not result in a significant gap in the range; and the population does not differ markedly from other populations based on its genetic characteristics.”

But wildlife advocates say the USFWS is giving up on the Southeast Alaska wolves.

“We think the US Fish and Wildlife Service didn’t get it right and that they’ve overlooked some important things,” Larry Edwards, a Forest Campaigner with Greenpeace, told Alaska Public Media. “It’s very odd to us that the Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges a 75 percent decline in the Prince of Wales wolf population and then basically writes that population off.”

The USFWS predicts the overall population of Alexander Archipelago wolves to be between 850 to 2,700 individuals, with approximately 62 percent living in British Columbia and 38 percent occupying southeastern Alaska. But advocates for Alexander Archipelago wolf protection under the ESA say the USFWS’s wide range estimates of population levels prove their lack of knowledge about the species’ actual status.

And in an indirect way, the USFWS has admitted to sacrificing this smaller wolf population.

“We do have concern for the wolf population on Prince of Wales Island,” Drew Crane, the Regional Endangered Species Coordinator at USFWS, told Maine News. “But Prince of Wales Island in general only constitutes six percent of the range-wide population of the Alexander Archipelago wolf.”

The USFWS predicts the current population of Alexander Archipelago wolves on Prince of Wales Island will continue to decrease by another eight to 14 percent over the next 30 years.

To some Alaska lawmakers, this sacrifice is just fine with them. If the USFWS had found the Alexander Archipelago wolf worthy of endangered species status, the listing process would have limited or entirely prevented timber sales in the Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States.

“…The attempt by some environmental groups to list the wolf seemed to be an effort solely to end the last of the remaining timber industry in Southeast Alasaka,” US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska, said in a press release Tuesday. “Fortunately, it did not work.”

VIDEO link: http://launch.newsinc.com/share.html?trackingGroup=90962&siteSection=csmonitor_nws_non_sty_dynamic&videoId=29928299

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RESTRICTIONS ON PREDATOR HUNTING WILL HELP PREVENT STEEP AND LONG TERM DEPRESSION OF PREDATOR POPULATIONS   1 comment

October 26, 2015 SOURCE

Good news for Alaska’s Wildlife and Wolves

Over the past decade, the National Park Service has objected to at least 50 proposals by Alaska wildlife officials to liberalize the killing of predators within national preserves. The conflict can be traced back to 1994, when the Alaska Legislature passed a law mandating that the Board of Game pursue intensive management “to maintain, restore, or increase the abundance of big game prey populations for human consumptive use,” according to a 2007 article in the Alaska Law Review by University of Alaska, Fairbanks, professor Julie Lurman and NPS subsistence manager Sanford Rabinowitch.
“Predator control”, which aims to suppress numbers of bears, wolves and coyotes in order to boost prey species, including moose and caribou, is incompatible with the Park Service’s mandate to preserve “natural ecosystems,” including at its 20 million acres of national preserves in Alaska (Sport hunting, illegal in national parks, is allowed in Alaska’s national preserves under a law Congress passed in 1980).
NPS first proposed a permanent ban on three predator hunting practices in 2014. These practices were illegal under Alaska law until approval (several years ago) by the state’s Board of Game. That proposal bans the baiting of brown ‪‎bears‬, the hunting of wolves and‪ coyotes‬ during the denning and pupping period, and the use of artificial light to shoot black bear sows and cubs at their dens, a technique known as “spotlighting.”
Now, after a long and heated battle, National Park Service will implement tighter restrictions on sport hunting with the closure regulations become effective Nov. 23, and new hunting regulations effective January 1st of next year. State officials, needless to say, are not pleased.
The new restrictions include these changes to sport hunting regulations on national preserves:

*NPS prohibits taking wolves and coyotes during the denning season.
*NPS prohibits the taking of any black bear using artificial lights at den sites including cubs and sows with cubs.
*NPS prohibits taking brown and black bears over bait.
*NPS will not allow hunters to use dogs to hunt black bears, while it is permitted by state rules.
*NPS will not allow hunters to shoot swimming caribou from a boat or shoot caribou that have emerged from the water onto the shoreline while the hunter is still on the boat, though state rules permit both.

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Featured Graphic: National Parks Conservation Association

The manipulation of natural population dynamics conflicts with National Park Service law and policy. National park areas are managed to maintain natural ecosystems and processes, including wildlife populations and their behaviors. While sport hunting is allowed by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in national preserves in Alaska, NPS policies prohibit reducing native predators for the purpose of increasing numbers of harvested species.

For years, the National Park Service had repeatedly requested the State of Alaska and the Alaska Board of Game to exempt national preserves from state regulations that liberalized hunting methods, seasons and bag limits for predators. State officials denied those requests, as well as also objecting to the use of repeated temporary federal closures.

“Sport hunting” occurs on about 38 percent  (more than 20 million acres) of the land managed by the National Park Service in Alaska. In these national preserves, sport hunting generally occurs under state regulations. Though a large majority of state sport hunting regulations would remain unchanged, this is an enormous step in the right direction and puts a stop to these abhorrent acts of inhumanity in and around Alaska’s national parks and preserves.

National Park System areas, including preserves, already prohibit other predator control actions, such as aerial shooting of wolves, a horrific practice which the State of Alaska conducts as part of its statewide wildlife “management” program.

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He Watched Helplessly As A Wild Wolf Approached His Dog. Then Something Incredible Happened.   22 comments

Despite their incredible beauty and obvious similarities to our domestic companions, just about everyone knows that wolves are not to be messed with in any way.

But in 2003, Alaskan wildlife photographer Nick Jans and his labrador encountered a wolf in their backyard – and began a relationship that would defy logic and transform an entire community.

Jans was on the back porch of his Juneau home with his dog when a wild wolf appeared. With all the excitement, his dog slipped away, racing out to meet the stranger.

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Nick Jans

Nick was stunned to see the two start to play together. He managed to capture this photo of them during the encounter.

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Nick Jans

The wolf stayed in the area, and in the years since, Nick has devoted much of his time to documenting him, naming him Romeo.

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Arnie Hanger

Romeo became a Juneau fixture, known for playing with local dogs at nearby Mendenhall Glacier Park.

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Nick Jans

Residents were unsure at first, but they soon realized that Romeo just wanted to play.

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Nick Jans

Romeo didn’t just play with other dogs. He played with humans, too. “The wolf would bring out toys that he’d stashed,” Nick said in an interview. “One was a Styrofoam float. Romeo would pick it up and bring it to [my friend] Harry to throw. He clearly understood the same sort of behaviors that we see in dogs.”

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Nick Jans

“The amazing thing was Romeo’s understanding. It wasn’t just our understanding and tolerance. It was the combination of his and ours and the dogs’. We were these three species working out how to get along harmoniously. And we did.”

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Dave Willson

Romeo remained around the outskirts of Juneau for six years, becoming an ambassador to the wild and a powerful symbol in the community.

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Nick Jans

After Romeo’s passing in 2010, the residents of Juneau held a memorial for the wolf and had this special plaque made in his honor.

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Klas Stolpe/Juneau Empire

It’s so inspiring to see three different species learn to live peacefully together in harmony. It just goes to show how wonderful the world can be.

Share this amazing story with your friends, and check out Nick’s account of this unbelievable tale, A Wolf Named Romeo.

SOURCE

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BE A VOICE FOR ALASKA’S ARCHIPELAGO WOLVES   Leave a comment

From intheshadowofthewolf on July 23, 2015

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Please send off these tweets to your following at your leisure over the weekend for added support. This imperiled species needs our help urgently with as many voices as we can muster! Thank you.

**Tweetstorm**  #Wolves  #StandForWolves  Please be a voice for Archipelago Wolves: https://t.co/eEorYSwIug PLS RT

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/U22

Alaska’s #Wolves face catastrophe, Alexander Archipelago Wolves population plummeted 60% in 1 yr. Be their voice:  goo.gl/R5FfLq

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/zce29

**Tweetstorm**  #Wolves #SaveWolves #StandForWolves Be a voice for the imperiled Archipelago Wolves:  http://t.co/oPeXzNcwgc

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/cbroy

Demand #Alaska call off the hunting & trapping season 4  imperiled Archipelago #Wolves PLS join tweetstorm 7/27: goo.gl/R5FfLq

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/23g6x

Archipelago #wolves should be protected under #ESA as an #EndangeredSpecies. Help make this happen! Tweetstorm: goo.gl/R5FfLq

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/otA39

The time to save Alaska’s #wolves is now! Be a voice for Archipelago Wolves. Please join tweetstorm 7/27 #SaveWolves Help out: goo.gl/R5FfLq

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/nz7ma

Alaska’s Prince of Wales #Wolves are nearing #Extinction. Demand emergency protection! #StandForWolves  goo.gl/R5FfLq

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/90TJj

Alaska Confirms Massive Decline in Rare Wolves, Still Plans to Hunt Them   5 comments

From takepart by

JUN 20, 2015
Samantha Cowan is TakePart’s associate culture and lifestyle editor.

Another harvest could do irreversible damage to the wolf population.

Alaska Archipelago Wolf (Photo: Facebook)

In 1994 southeast Alaska was home to about 900 Alexander Archipelago wolves. By 2013, there were fewer than 250. Last year that population plummeted 60 percent to 89 wolves. New numbers confirm that the rare breed of wolves could have dropped to as few as 50.

But the diminishing species won’t stop hunters from trapping and killing the wolves, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is moving ahead with their 2015-2016 hunting and trapping season on the Prince of Wales Island, where the majority of the wolves live.

“Another open season of trapping and hunting could push these incredibly imperiled wolves over the edge,” Shaye Wolf, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement.

A reported 29 wolves were killed during last years hunting season—which accounts for between 33 to 58 percent of the population. Either figure means the species is in jeopardy of being completely wiped out, especially as females were hit particularly hard this season, with only seven to 32 remaining.

So, Why Should You Care? These confirmed numbers could lead to further protections for the breed—which some scientists believe are genetically different from other wolves. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is working to determine whether the species are considered threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act, which could put the kibosh on hunting the animals and protect their habitat.

Such protections would impact the timber industry that logs in their range in the Tongass National Forest. The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit in 2009 to save roadless areas of the Tongass.

But the biggest threat to wolves currently is hunters, which makes the forgoing this year’s harvest seem like a no-brainer.

“To maintain a viable population of Alexander Archipelago wolves on this island, Alaska must cancel the season,” said Wolfe. “We won’t get a second chance to preserve these amazing animals.”

Correction June 22, 2015:
An earlier version of this article stated incorrectly that the population of the Alaskan Archipelgo wolf has declined. It is its subspecies living on Prince of Wales Island that has declined.

Petition: Stop Slaughtering Wolves for Fossil Fuel and Logging Greed!

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