Tour bus drivers report seeing fewer wolves on the road inside the park.
By Associated Press
A group of Alaska wildlife advocates is asking the state to end wolf hunting near Denali National Park and Preserve, a report said.
The group of more than 60 residents and advocates is concerned about a decrease in the number of wolf sightings by bus drivers taking tourists on the only road inside the park, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Monday.
The group sent petitions to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game commissioner and the state Board of Game urging the closure of wolf hunting along the Stampede Corridor, just outside the national park’s eastern boundary.
Group members do not believe there is a threat to wolf populations overall, only those packs in the Denali road corridor.
The National Park Service has submitted its own proposal to the game board requesting a partial closure to wolf hunting.
Wolf hunting in the area is scheduled to begin August 10, while trapping season is scheduled to open November 1.
Bill Watkins, a group member and Denali road bus driver, set up a social media page to conduct a survey of park employees from April 27 to July 10. Fifteen wolf sightings were recorded.
The survey is “not scientific in any way, shape or form” but represents a snapshot of wolf viewing, he said.
“We’re the people on the ground,” Watkins said. “This is what we’re seeing — or not seeing in this case.”
Sean Maguire of Alaskans for Wildlife said Denali’s 700,000 yearly visitors want to see three things.
“They want to see bears, they want to see wolves, they want to see mountains,” Maguire said.