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AK: Several wolf sightings reported in Fairbanks area

By Sam Friedman

FAIRBANKS—A wolf is suspected of killing a dog earlier this week in the Goldstream Valley.

There have been several anecdotal reports of wolf sightings in the outskirts of Fairbanks this week, but area wildlife biologist Tony Hollis with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said Friday he knows of only one account of wolf activity that’s been reported to the department.

On Sunday, Hollis said, someone reported that a medium-sized Labrador ran off into the woods off Jones Road near the O’Connor Creek trailhead. He said the person with the dog heard the dog yelp and found the dog bleeding from wounds to the throat and the stomach.

Biologists haven’t confirmed that it was a wolf that killed the dog or confirmed the sighting of other wolves in the area. But Hollis said it’s fairly common for wolves to travel through the outskirts of Fairbanks, so he wouldn’t be surprised if there are wolves in the area this week.

“It’s possible that happened right there,” he said. “There are wolf packs that come to the edge of town. Once the Tanana freezes, you see them right on the Tanana. It’s common to see them up Chena Hot Springs Road coming down the Chena. It’s common to see them in the Goldstream Valley.”

However, coyotes and dogs are sometimes mistaken for wolves.

Hollis said he has received an additional credible second-hand account of wolves spotted in the Goldstream Valley this week.

A few other people on social media have reported wolf sightings or wolf tracks recently in both the Goldstream Valley and in the Two Rivers area.

Wolves seldom attack people, but they can be a threat to pets and livestock. Much like with bears, Hollis said people can minimize risk by making noise when traveling outside and keeping dogs close by.