The Alaska Department of Fish and Game resumed killing wolves from helicopters this week in the Interior and immediately sparked controversy by wiping out a pack that included wolves collared for research by the National Park Service.
The wolf kills in the eastern Interior are part of a predator control effort to increase the numbers of the Fortymile caribou herd, as well as moose populations. The department had agreed beforehand that it wouldn't kill wolves collared by biologists from the Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve.
But Fish and Game on Wednesday killed all four wolves in the Webber Creek Pack, including two with radio collars, as they roamed state land outside the preserve.
Yukon Charley Superintendent Greg Dudgeon said the population of wolves ranging the preserve was already significantly down before the killing. He said he now plans to order an emergency closure of hunting and trapping wolves in its boundaries.
"The local folks who hunt and trap lose out on opportunities when you have this kind of aggressive approach outside the boundaries. It affects more than just National Park Service managers," he said.
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