Wolf Song of Alaska News

It's a Fact: Fairbanks Area Residents Have Wolf Phone

Keeping Track:  Sightings can be called in and will be posted

Tim Mowry / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / December 22, 2007

FAIRBANKS -- The Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks now has a wolf phone.

The agency has established a hot line and e-mail mailing list to keep local residents abreast of what's happening on the wolf front in Two Rivers and North Pole, or anywhere else wolves happen to be wandering about town.

"When people call in with sightings or incidents we're going to record them on a hot line so people will know where the most recent sightings were," said department spokeswoman Cathie Harms.

The hot line -- 907-459-7308 -- will be updated each time the department gets a new report of a verified sighting or incident, Harms said.

The department also is creating a mailing list or listserv on the Internet so people can become subscribers and post their own, more detailed versions of wolf activity around Fairbanks that can be sent to other subscribers.

"That should take them to the page where they can see the most recent posts and/or create an account and make a post," Harms said.

A pack of wolves is believed to have killed and eaten at least three dogs in the Two Rivers/east North Pole area in the past two months and several residents in both areas have reported wolf sightings, tracks and howling during that time.

Both the hot line and listserv are aimed at getting information about wolf sightings out to the public as soon as possible, Harms said.

The idea for both stemmed from a public meeting held in Two Rivers on Dec. 9 that attracted approximately 100 people, some of whom requested daily updates on where the wolves were last seen and what they were up to.

"People wanted a better level of communication about what's going on," Harms said. "They wanted to know what happened most recently."

Other than tracks of a lone wolf reported in a yard at 17.5 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road on Wednesday, there has been little to report in the past week, Harms said. Four wolves were spotted circling a chained-up dog near 4 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road last week but the dog owner and a neighbor pre-empted any attack by scaring the wolves off. There have been no reported sightings since.

The listserv is not meant to be a chat forum, Harms said. The department wants local residents to sign up and post what they hear and see, not Outsiders pontificating about the state's wolf control program or other wolf-related issues.

"We don't want a bunch of people from Connecticut on there," is how Harms put it.

But the department doesn't plan to block membership on the listserv or edit posts unless it becomes necessary, she said.

The department also will be posting verified reports it receives from the public on the listserv as it gets them, Harms said.

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