Press Release Feb 25, 2017

Alaska Denies Crucial Safe Zone for Denali Wolves

The state of Alaska Board of Game rejected a proposal to reinstate a wolf safe zone outside a portion of Denali National Park and Preserve. The proposal would have prevented hunting and trapping of Denali’s wolves when they roam out of the park onto nearby state land.

Anchorage, AK – Today, the state of Alaska Board of Game rejected a proposal to reinstate a wolf safe zone outside a portion of Denali National Park and Preserve. The proposal would have prevented hunting and trapping of Denali’s wolves when they roam out of the park onto nearby state land. A similar safe zone was eliminated by the state in 2010.

The proposed safe zone would have covered critical habitat used by Denali’s wolves to hunt caribou during the winter and spring. Iconic and long-studied Denali wolf family groups have been severely reduced or eliminated as a result of hunting and trapping in this area, and successful wolf-viewing in the park has declined precipitously as a result.

National Parks Conservation Association collected more than 16,000 letters in support of reinstating the wolf safe zone.

Below is a statement by Joan Frankevich, Alaska Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association

“The Alaska Board of Game’s inaction today prioritizes hunting and trapping opportunities over protecting wildlife, wildlife-viewing tourism, and the state’s economy. With its decision not to reinstate the safe zone outside Denali National Park, wolves who travel outside the park’s boundaries will continue to risk death or injury from hunting and trapping in the area.

“Alaska’s wildlife tourism industry is fueled by visitors who want to see wolves and bears in their natural environment. I personally witnessed my first wolf in Denali, and hoped to share that same incredible experience with my daughter. However, despite numerous trips, it wasn’t in Denali where we saw her first wild wolf—it was in Yellowstone National Park.

“The number of Denali visitors who see wolves has plummeted from 45% of visitors in 2010 to only 5% in 2015 and 2016. NPCA is disappointed the Board of Game did nothing to protect some of the most studied, viewed and photographed wolves in the world. Their actions impact Denali visitors’ opportunity to see wolves and the economic windfall tourism provides to Alaska’s economy.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association: (NPCA) Since 1919, the nonpartisan NPCA has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.