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Traffic hit Alaska gray wolves hard during winter

At least six wolves were killed by cars along a roughly half-mile stretch of the Glenn Highway outside of Anchorage last winter and fall, with wolf experts saying they've never seen that kind of carnage in a single season anywhere in Alaska — much less on the outskirts of the state's biggest city.

"They really got whacked this year," said Rick Sinnott, area wildlife biologist for the state Department of Fish and Game.

The roadkill count began in the fall and continued through the winter, likely hammering a single wolf pack that prowls a broad territory east of the Glenn Highway between Eagle River and Anchorage, Sinnott said. All of the carcasses were reported near a small gap in the Fort Richardson fencing just south of the weigh station.

Gray wolves have long been known to slip across the busy freeway, disappearing in the birch, willows and cottonwood that frame the Glenn. The pack had recently grown to at least a dozen wolves and may have been expanding its hunting grounds, Sinnott said.

"It could be just that the road happens to be here, but they need more territory so they're moving a little bit more than usual across the road," he said.

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