Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Support H.B. 105 – Protect Denali Wolves!

To: ,
Cc:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,
Subject:  Support H.B. 105 – Protect Denali Wolves
Dear Senate President,
Dear Senator,
The Alaska House of Representatives recently passed legislation to prohibit wolf hunting and trapping in two areas adjacent to Denali National Park and Preserve.  House Bill 105, sponsored by Congressman Josephson, which seeks to ensure healthy wolf population for park visitors to enjoy, is worthy of your support.
Denali is recognized as one of the best places in the world for people to see wolves in the wild. Each year, tens of thousands of visitors see wolves along Denali Park Road. More than anywhere else in Alaska, wolves in the eastern part of Denali provide significant benefits to tourism.
The harvest of wolves, particularly breeding animals, has the potential to decrease wolf numbers, influence social structure and reproduction, alter wolf behavior, and decrease opportunities for wolf viewing. Thus, even if harvest occurring outside of the park has little effect on large-scale wolf population dynamics, it may still have significant effects on visitor experience.
The Denali National Park and Preserve is a major tourist destination that hosts more than half a million visitors yearly, which, in turn, provides a significant boost to the local and statewide economies. Previous buffer zones have protected wildlife populations adjacent to the park from hunting and trapping. After eliminating the buffer zone in 2010 visitor wolf sightings dropped from 45 percent to just 6 percent in under 4 years.
Denali National Park and Preserve is an important tourism asset, and a big part of the attraction of the park is, of course, the ability to see wildlife in their natural habitat," said Congressman Josephson. "This bill will help make sure that future generations of Alaskans and visitors can be moved, as I have been, by seeing these amazing animals in this unforgettable place.
The continued and heartless slaughter of Denali wolves has disrupted their society and destabilized the packs, which in turn compromised not only the hunting capabilities, but the very survival of remaining members. Hunting and trapping most often removes key pack members or alpha wolves, which will usually will lead to the disintegration of an entire family group.  For example, in 2012, the trapping of the pregnant alpha female wolf from the Grant Creek group led to the group declining from 15 wolves to only 3 that year. Then in 2016 one of the two remaining East Fork wolves was shot just outside park boundaries. Because of the shooting of the radio-collared gray male (dubbed "1508 GM" by park biologists) the East Fork pack was reduced to one lone black wolf who, at that time, had pups, now presumed dead.
Please help prevent this type of tragic situation from ever happening again by voting in favor of House Bill 105. Protect Denali National Park Wolves.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this extremely important matter,


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