Denali National Park is recognized as one of the best places in the world for people to see wolves in the wild and, more than anywhere else in Alaska, wolves in the eastern region of Denali National Park provide significant wolf viewing opportunities as visitors travel along the Park Road.
From 2000 to 2010, the Alaska Board of Game approved the closure of certain areas outside of but adjacent to the eastern region of Denali National Park (the buffer zone) to wolf hunting and trapping year round in order to protect wolf viewing opportunities in the park. In 2010, the Board of Game eliminated the buffer zone, and wolf viewing inside Denali National Park dropped precipitously. Without protection from hunters and trappers, wolves were spotted far less frequently in the Park. In 2010, 44% of Park visitors reported wolf sightings. In 2013, only 4% reported sightings. Population-wise, there was an almost 50% decrease in the number of wolves in the Park from 2007 to 2018, and one pack, known as the "Comb Pack" has not been seen since March 2018.
WHAT AWA HAS DONE
Alaska Wildlife Alliance in 2013 joined a group of concerned individuals and organizations to write US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Alaska Governor Sean Parnell, asking “that you negotiate an easement exchange or purchase to secure a permanent wildlife conservation buffer east of Alaska’s Denali National Park.” In March, 2018 AWA submitted a letter to the Senate Resources Committee urging members to vote in favor of CSHB 105, which would establish a no-hunting buffer zone adjacent to Denali National Park.
Do you want to learn more about the Denali Wolf and the buffer zone issue? Click here to read our full blog post!