The National Park Service has officially joined the debate over the no-trapping buffer zones on state land outside Denali National Park. It has asked the Game Board to expand one of the two zones "to enhance or protect wolf-viewing opportunities in the park," reports the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.Trapping is illegal on 122 square miles of state land, giving some protection to Denali wolves that wander outside the park.Continued on jump
The Park Service is proposing to add 77 square miles to the Stampede Closed Area.
... Park Service officials say data collected with GPS radio collars on three wolf packs during the past six years shows the boundary it is proposing would protect the park's two most vulnerable and viewed wolf packs. "With more data we now can say they do go out there more than we thought," park biologist Tom Meier said. "We have a lot better idea where they're going."
The park wolf population is down to 70, the lowest in 20 years, the Park Service says.
Meier acknowledged that decline likely isn't because of wolves are leaving the park and being trapped, but "it is a reason for concern," he said.
The Alaska Board of Game is preparing to debate various proposals that would eliminate or expand the buffer zone.