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Alaska trapper shoots horse, uses it as wolf bait
and snares important female wolf from Denali National Park
Contact: Rick Steiner <mailto:richard.g.stei...@gmail.com> , Professor and Conservation Biologist
Oasis Earth, Anchorage
May 18, 2012 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In an incident somewhat reminiscent of the “bad old days” of the Wild West, a trapper from Healy, Alaska apparently walked a horse out to an area off the Stampede Trail near the boundary of Denali National Park - an area made famous by the 1996 book “Into the Wild” - shot the horse, and set snares all around the area hoping to catch wolves attracted to the carcass. Wolves from Denali National Park were drawn to the dead horse, resulting in the killing of a primary reproductive female wolf from the Grant Creek (also called Toklat West) pack from the park, along with at least one other wolf. It is unknown how long the two wolves were alive in the snares before being killed and collected by the trapper. The Grant Creek wolf pack has been one of the three packs most often viewed in Denali National Park.
The snares, set by Healy guide Coke Wallace, were on state lands along the north border of the national park, and within the former protected “Denali buffer” where from 2002 - 2010 trapping and hunting of wolves was prohibited to protect the park’s wolves. Ignoring several proposals and hundreds of supporting comments from citizens in 2010 to expand the no-take Denali wolf buffer zone - including a proposal from Denali National Park itself - the Alaska Board of Game instead eliminated the protective buffer altogether. At the same time, the Board also imposed a moratorium on future consideration of any Denali wolf protection buffer proposals until 2016. Some have questioned the legality of the Board restricting public process in such a way.
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