Seventy miles east of Alaska’s Denali National Park, a hunter riding a snowmobile killed a family of ten wolves; he picked them off with a rifle he carried. What makes this story more shocking? It was legal.
Hunting inside Denali National Park is illegal, but wolves make the border areas around the park their home. They were gunned down in one of these border zones. Wolves aren’t yet considered endangered in Alaska, so that’s why killing them wasn’t against the law.
Before this event, an emergency was declared n the Stampede Trail region, which is closer to the national park. “The wolf harvest this season in the area described is more than the past five-year average, and there is the potential for more harvest to occur before the end of the regulatory hunting and trapping seasons,” the emergency order reads.
Wolf advocates worry that wolves could be disappearing for good in Alaska. They’ve been monitoring this since 1986; they worry the number of wolves is on a steady and quick decline.
“For several years now, there has been a notable decline in the number of wolf sightings in Denali and research indicates that wolf mortality rates in the park have recently spiked to worrying levels,” the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) wrote in a statement. “The percentage of sightseers who have spotted a wolf has dropped from 45 percent to just 5 percent.
“In other places around the world, overhunting of wolves has destroyed their population. “It’s too late for these ten wolves,” WCC wrote, “but we can’t give up on protecting the others who call Denali National Park home.”
You can speak up for wolves by sending a letter demanding they receive more protection around Denali National Park. And to help wolf conservation, you can donate to the Wolf Conservation Center.