Enviros Object to POW Wolf Harvest
August 24 2015
Environmental groups responded saying the wolf hunt was announced despite recent evidence that the Alexander Archipelago wolf population on the island is in danger of extinction. Last month environmental groups asked the state to close the hunting and trapping season in response to a June report by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game showing alarmingly low levels of wolves the island. Instead of canceling the hunt, the state is allowing the harvest of nine wolves.
“Alexander Archipelago wolves on Prince of Wales have been pushed to their limit and we must stop hunting them,” said Larry Edwards, Greenpeace forest campaigner in Sitka. “Opening the season is the opposite of letting this population recover, let alone sustaining it. Today’s action could lead to its demise.”
According to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, the Alexander Archipelago wolf is a subspecies of the gray or timber wolf found in southeast Alaska.
According to the state, the newly announced quota of nine wolves is 20 percent of the pre-2014/2015 season population estimate of 89 wolves “plus a reduction for any other human-caused mortality that may occur.” The quota does not account for the 29 wolves reported killed last year, a demonstrated high level of poaching, or the fact that females make up only 25 percent of the dwindling population. Even if they can reproduce at their reduced numbers, the risk of inbreeding is high.
“Wolves on Prince of Wales have been hammered by old-growth logging that has destroyed huge swaths of their habitat and created an ever-growing road system that allows more and more hunter access to the wolves,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Thanks to decades of unsustainable logging, Alexander Archipelago wolves are on the precipice, and the state of Alaska is about to kick them over the edge.”
Alexander Archipelago wolves are a subspecies of gray wolves that dens in the roots of old-growth trees in the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2014 found that protecting Alexander Archipelago wolves under the Endangered Species Act “may be warranted.” The Service will decide whether to list the wolves under the Act by the end of this year.
Alaska Department of Fish & Game currently manages Unit 2 wolves for an annual harvest that should not exceed 20 percent of the unit-wide, fall population. According to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, it is impossible to survey the entire unit and a prediction from a study area was used to develop the fall 2014 population estimate of 89 wolves, with a range of 50 to 159.
The harvest quota of nine wolves reflects 20 percent of the population estimate from the study area plus a reduction for any other human-caused mortality that may occur. ADF&G says this strategy is intended to ensure a conservative and sustainable harvest.
In addition, ADF&G intends to limit the state of Alaska wolf hunting and trapping season length in Unit 2 to 10 days. The state season length will depend on the number of wolves taken during the federal subsistence hunting (Sept. 1-March 31) and trapping (Nov. 15-March 31) seasons and will be shortened or closed if the harvest from the earlier federal season approaches nine wolves.
Quoting a news release, ADF&G views this management action as a conservative approach to Unit 2 wolf management in light of the most recent population estimate.
The Federal Subsistence Board received a request to close the 2015-16 Federal hunting and trapping seasons for wolves in Unit 2. The Board is soliciting comments on this proposed action from the public during a hearing set for 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 27, in the Prince of Wales Island Vocational and Technical Education Center, Klawock, Alaska.
On the Web:
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
Source of News: