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Denali National Park Wolves get Wolfwatcher Help!

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Preliminary NPS service wolf viewing data for Denali National Park shows a decline from 41% success in 2010 (the year the buffer was eliminated) to just 12% in 2012. In a recent interview, Wolfwatcher’s Education Director Diane Bentivegna spoke out about the potential negative economic impacts this may have on the state if a wolf buffer is not enacted soon.

Please listen/read the interview at:

A federal wolf count in Denali National Park this fall found only a third of the population compared to half a decade before. The park’s population of 54 wolves marks a quarter-century low. “Biologists do not know all the factors behind the continuing decline,” Tina Brown (President of Alaska Wildlife Alliance) said, “but it is clear that take outside the boundary of the park is a significant contributor.”

Unfortunately, the national reputation of the State of Alaska in terms of its commitment to wildlife tourism was damaged recently when the Alaska Board of Game rejected more than one petition urging the Board to enact a wolf buffer (no-trapping/no-hunting) zone on a small parcel of state land along the eastern boundary of Denali National Park.  This buffer zone would protect the twenty to thirty animals that comprise the three most viewed wolf packs in Denali National Park. One of the most viewed packs in the park – the Grant Creek pack — was seriously impacted from a trapping loss this past April. The pack failed to reproduce and dispersed. The success of viewing wolves in Denali has declined dramatically since the buffer was removed in 2010.

A journey to Alaska requires a substantial financial investment on the part of visitors. It would be unethical for us to ask our supporters to spend approximately $8500 to participate in one of our educational adventures – Project: Denali –  when, in all probability, they may not see the very wildlife they expected to see on a “wolf-watching” adventure. If, however, the proposed buffer zone were enacted, we believe we could reasonably assure our supporters that all was being done to encourage a successful experience.

Wolfwatcher is committed to this cause!   We will keep you posted as developments proceed…

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