Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The Alaska Peninsula community of Port Heiden has been struggling with aggressive wolves for the past several months. Pets have been killed and the wolves are not easily run off. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, wildlife division supervisor Bruce Dale says the state has decided it’s become a public safety issue. He says they will take action similar to last spring when wolves killed a teacher 50 miles across the peninsula in Chignik Lake.
Dale says it’s unlikely that the wolves bothering Port Heiden residents are from the same pack that was responsible for the Chignik Lake killing. In that incident, state hunters killed eight wolves. Dale says they haven’t yet determined how many wolves will have to be shot because accounts vary as to how many are in the area. He says it’s rare for North American wolves to be as aggressive as the Peninsula wolves have been.
He says several factors may be contributing to the wolves’ behavior. A substantial number of the northern Alaska Peninsula caribou herd winter close to Port Heiden, marine mammal carcasses wash up in the area and wolves feed on them and Dale says it’s also where wolves hunt sea otters on the ice.
Dale says the fact that Port Heiden villagers have killed six wolves since August and others were not deterred was part of what led to the decision to kill more.
Dale says pilots will back track wolves to locate those involved in the village incidents. Weather and snow conditions will determine when the wolves will be taken.
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