EKLUTNA, Alaska -- An effort to trap wolves that have been attacking dogs in the Anchorage area is about to get underway.
The Eklutna Native Corporation is opening its lands to trapping between Eagle River and the Mat-Su Valley in a limited effort wolf hunt, with the hopes that removing one or two wolves will discourage the attacks.
Eklutna Tribal Administrator Don Karabelnikoff (Kyle Stalder/KTUU-TV)
Warning signs are posted near the Powder Ridge subdivision in North Eagle River, alerting residents that active wolf trapping is in progress.
Fish and Game wildlife biologist Jessy Coltrane (Kyle Stalder/KTUU-TV)
Most of the undeveloped land between Eagle River and the Knik River belongs to the Eklutna Native Corporation. Now a single trapper is allowed to go after the trouble-making wolf pack on corporation lands.
The wolves nailed one of the dogs in the small village of Eklutna.
Eklutna Tribal Administrator Don Karabelnikoff said a resident lost her dog and later found it had been attacked by wolves near the village.
The State Department of Fish and Game says three dogs have died in wolf attacks over the last month. Some of the attacks occurred while the owners were with their dogs.
"It's not that wolves don't ever eat dogs in the Anchorage area, they do almost every year. It's just that this is a more concerning situation in the sense that wolves are coming right up when people are with their dogs," Fish and Game wildlife biologist Jessy Coltrane said. "The wolves aren't targeting the people, they're targeting the dogs, but they're still approaching with people in close proximity."
Fish and Game officials say wolf trapping is allowed in the area but generally not done on private lands owned by Native corporations or property owners.
The Eklutna Corporation got involved because one of the attacks was in its development at Powder Ridge.
Trespassing is not allowed on Eklutna lands. Efforts are still being taken to avoid potential conflicts.
"We do not object to them doing trapping provided that there are certain reasonable conditions; for example, keeping people informed about what, where and when, and making sure that children and dogs are not going to get snarled in traps," Karabelnikoff said.
Officials are hoping the capture of a one of two wolves will be enough to discourage future attacks.
A similar rash of wolf attacks occurred about 13 years ago, according to Fish and Game officials.
Officials conducted a limited wolf trap then, too, which seemed to discourage the attacks.
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