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Alaska denies bid to ban Denali National Park wolf hunting

Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang denied the emergency order request by a group of residents and advocates, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Wednesday.

Advocate disappointed in decision, says only hunting and trapping interests are represented

Denali National Park in August 2013. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has denied a request to close an area adjacent to Denali National Park to wolf hunting and trapping, a report said. (Manuel Valdes/The Associated Press)

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has denied a request to close an area adjacent to Denali National Park to wolf hunting and trapping, a report said.

Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang denied the emergency order request by a group of residents and advocates, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Wednesday.

More than 60 people sent petitions to Vincent-Lang and the state Board of Game urging the closure of wolf hunting along the Stampede Corridor, just outside the park's eastern boundary. The wolf packs inhabiting the Denali road corridor are at risk, they said.

The population status of the park's wolves does not constitute an emergency or require an emergency Board of Game meeting. The current wolf density meets the department's objective, Vincent-Lang said in an Aug. 13 letter.

"Annual wolf harvest in the proposed closed area is low and does not compromise our wolf population goal," Vincent-Lang said.

National Park Service reports show the average probability of visitors seeing a wolf between 1997 and 2018 was about 15 per cent, he said.

Advocate disappointed

Rick Steiner, a board member of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said he was disappointed with the decision.

"To many Alaskans, today's decision again highlights the broken wildlife management system in Alaska," Steiner wrote in an email.

He said "only hunting and trapping interests are represented, while the far more valuable, majority interest in wildlife — non-consumptive, wildlife viewing — is ignored."

The Board of Game is scheduled to consider two proposals regarding a buffer zone in the area at its March meeting.

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