Wolf Song of Alaska News

Fish and Game Officials Hopeful Wolf Attacks Will Soon Stop

Andrea Gusty / CBS 11 News / December 21, 2007


The wolves living in the Anchorage Bowl are getting bold and no longer seem to be afraid of humans, with at least three wolf attacks in the last two weeks.

Fish and game officials are hopeful the attacks will stop soon. The same thing happened 13 years ago. Wolves came into town attacking pets. Now, with a single kill, Fish and Game hopes the pack will now be under control.

There are more wolves in the city than you might think. Four different wolf packs live in the Anchorage area:

      -One near Ship Creek
      -One pack at the 20 Mile River
      -Another near the Knik Glacier
      -And one roaming between Elmendorf and the Palmer Hay Flats

The Elmendorf pack is the one Fish and Game says is causing all the problems.

"We're definitely concerned the wolves could be escalating," said Rick Sinnott of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Fish and Game now hopes the attacks will slow, thanks to legal hunting in the area.
"One large black female was killed yesterday in Palmer Hay Flats by somebody who was predator culling legally, so we are going to check that out. And that could very well be a member of that pack," said Sinnott.

Wildlife experts say killing certain members of the pack was the only thing that stopped a string of wolf attacks 13 years ago; and it could end up stopping this pack.

"Wolves are instinctively afraid of people, and it gets reinforced sometimes by trappers and hunters," said Sinnott.

They've been having a similar wolf problem in Fairbanks. With a new wolf information line, and better wolf awareness for residents, the problem is getting under control.

"People are being more vigilant, and making sure there are fewer opportunities for the wolves to get their dogs. And I think, hopefully, the wolves are learning not to stick around so well," said Cathie Harms of the Department of Fish and Game.

As for Anchorage, it's too soon to tell if the killing of the large black female wolf will keep the Elmendorf pack under control and stop the wolf attacks in the city.

As for the rest of the state:
The wolves in the Yukon River area have been brought under control after drastic measures by residents in Marshall. A kid's curfew and armed sentinels on the outskirts of the village stopped the wolves from killing dogs and stalking children. Wolves haven't been spotted in town since. Fish and Game in Anchorage says, when it comes to wolves, scaring them a little can go a long way.

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