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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Wildlife officials have announced a one-month trapping season for wolves on and near southeast Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island despite concerns conservationists have raised about the population.
A statement from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and U.S. Forest Service announced state and federal trapping seasons will run from Nov. 15-Dec. 15. The statement cited a fall 2020 Fish and Game estimate of 386 wolves, which it called the most current estimate and one that was higher than expected “considering it followed a reported harvest of 164 wolves from a fall 2019 population estimated at 316 ... wolves.” But the statement said other information indicates the wolf population in the area “remains robust.”
It says 68 wolves were reported harvested last year.
“We believe a one-month trapping season offers substantial harvest opportunity while also ensuring that harvest will remain sustainable,” the statement says.
This comes amid concerns raised by conservation groups about the Alexander Archipelago wolf.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in July said it determined a petition to provide Endangered Species Act protections to the Alexander Archipelago wolf may be warranted. The wolves are found in the coastal rainforests of southeast Alaska and British Columbia and a petition filed last year by conservation groups raised particular concerns about the wolves in Alaska and on Prince of Wales Island.
CoastAlaska reported this week on a letter an agency official sent Camila Cossio, a staff attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, that said the agency would begin work on a status review “soon.”
Cossio told CoastAlaska her organization is considering its options.