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Endangered Species Protection Denied to Rare Alexander Archipelago Wolf

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Despite recent evidence that Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago wolves are in danger of extinction, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced today that the rare wolf species does not warrant protection. The decision goes into effect immediately.

Read the official release from The Department of Interior.

The Alexander Archipelago wolf is a genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf that dens in the roots of old-growth trees in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. After a 60% drop in the number of the wolves in just one year, USFWS announced that protecting them under the Endangered Species Act “may be warranted.” This, however, did not prevent a hunting and trapping season on the rare wolves. At least 5 of the wolves last month leaving an estimated population of 89 remaining in the wild.

Conservation groups asked for a suspension of this winter’s wolf hunting and trapping seasons, and when that was denied, petitioned for an emergency Endangered Species Act listing for the wolves. That request also was denied.

To add insult to injury, earlier this year a federal appeals court cleared the way for a logging company, the Big Thorne project, to cut centuries-old trees – the only home for these wolves and their prey.