Petition seeks endangered species status for Alaska wolves
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A conservation group has filed a petition seeking endangered species status for a subspecies of Alaska wolves.
The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on July 15 for the protections for Alexander Archipelago wolves, which live in southeast Alaska, CoastAlaska reported.
“These wolves are being devastated by trapping and by clear cut logging of their forest home,” said Shaye Wolf, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “And they need some stronger protections if they’re going to survive.”
The organization said the wolves are threatened by deforestation, hunting, trapping and climate change.
This is at least the third time a petition has been filed to the Fish and Wildlife Service on behalf of the animals.
The Center for Biological Diversity in 2016 petitioned for endangered species status for the wolves, the organization said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected the petition, concluding populations were stable almost everywhere except for a subset living on Prince of Wales island and its nearby islands, which the agency said represented 6% of the species’ population.
The new petition said federal plans to halt protections for much of the wolf habitat makes the situation more precarious than it was in 2016.
Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Andrea Medeiros said in a statement that the agency will review the petition.
The agency has until Oct. 13 to rule on the petition’s viability, after which a formal inquiry could begin.
Tom Schumacher, regional wildlife conservation supervisor for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said the agency doesn’t believe the wolves should be considered endangered.
“We think we can manage the wolves sustainably,” Schumacher said.