Although only 225 rare Alexander Archipelago wolves remain on Prince of Wales Island, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and the U.S. Forest Service announced Friday that hunters will be allowed to hunt and trap 45 wolves on Prince of Wales and associated islands this fall and winter hunting season, and on federal lands no less.
Any hunting or trapping of these rare wolves is already controversial.
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. Its populations are already fragile, threatened by logging and hunting.
Three years ago, after a 60% drop in the population in just one year, the wolves were feared endangered and twice petitioned to be listed under the Endangered Species Act. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed that protecting them under the ESA “may be warranted.”
Despite this, Alaska Department of Fish and Game will allow hunters to hunt and trap 20% of the Alexander Archipelago wolves on Prince of Wales while U.S. Department of Agriculture is working to undermine safeguards for the Tongass’s centuries-old trees – the only home for these wolves and their prey.