Last year, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game lifted all harvest limits for the wolf trapping season on and around Prince of Wales Island in the Tongass National Forest. The result? 97% of the wolf population was killed in the 2019-2020 trapping season, some 165 wolves. If the quota had remained in place, only 34 wolves would have legally been allowed to be taken.
While the 2019 wolf population estimates have yet to be released, the 2018 estimate puts the population at 170. If accurate, only five Alexander Archipelago wolves may remain.
Residents of the Prince of Wales Island and the surrounding area rely on subsistence hunting to sustain their lifestyle, with deer and moose forming the staples of their diet. While wolf populations have made a comeback in recent years, deer populations have dwindled. Wolf management has long been a touchy subject in southeast Alaska, but the reckless mismanagement of the 2019-2020 trapping season is frankly appalling. Conservation groups are calling on the Department of Fish and Game to enact the Wolf Habitation Management Plan to work towards a more sustainable trapping season. For information, check out the Newsweek article HERE.