|You notice the “program objectives” are conveniently omitted from this request… Exactly what is a population of wolves capable of sustaining a harvest of 2 wolves per year? I get it, it’s the objective is not based on maintaining a specific number of wolves … instead they will kill wolves until the caribou meets the “objective”? But wait, the ADF&G state they do have a wolf population objective and that objective is being met already? So why kill more wolves?
From the Unimak Predator Control Implementation Plan (Attached):
- No wolf surveys have been conducted in the Unimak Wolf Management Area; wolves are frequently observed within the UCH calving ground; the Unimak Wolf Management Area was thought to include 20 to 30 wolves and in 3 to 5 packs based on habitat type and prey base;
- wolf population objectives for Unimak Island are to maintain a population capable of sustaining a harvest of at least 2 wolves per year; these objectives are currently being met and will continue to be met under this plan;
- the commissioner may continue to reduce wolf numbers in the Unimak Wolf Management area until the following thresholds can be met without the benefit of wolf reduction:
- (i) the bull:cow ratio can be sustained within management objectives and the fall calf:cow ratio can be sustained above 25 calves:100 cows; or
- (ii) the population can grow at a sustained rate of 5% annually; or
- (iii) harvest objectives can be met;
- The Department of Fish and Game (department) recommends the following management objectives for the Unimak caribou herd:
- 1. Maintain a population size of 1,000 animals.
- 2. Maintain a minimum fall bull:cow ratio of at least 35 bulls:100 cows.
- predator and prey population objectives and the basis for those objectives are as follows:
- (A) management population objectives for the UCH is to maintain a population of 1,000 caribou with a bull:cow ratio of at least 35 bulls:100 cows; the amount necessary for subsistence is 100 - 150 caribou annually and includes caribou harvested from the SAP caribou herd in Unit 9D; the caribou harvest objective required to meet the amount necessary for subsistence has not been met for 18 years;
- (i) management objectives were established based on historical information regarding population numbers, habitat limitations, human use, and sustainable harvests;
- (ii) the estimated UCH population in October 2009 was 300 caribou, including 13 bulls;
- the commissioner may authorize the Department employees to euthanize wolf pups located in a den in accordance with the Department’s Wolf Pup Protocol and using the Guidelines for Euthanasia of Nondomestic Animals approved by the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians if the wolf pups are orphaned during the wolf removal activities
- brown bears are considered to be an important predator of caribou on the Alaska Peninsula and on Unimak Island; while brown bears have been known to kill adult caribou opportunistically, brown bears are regarded as an effective predator of calves during the first 10 days of life;