(Mirror Daily, United States) – One subspecies of the Alaskan Wolf will not be on the Endangered Species Act after a yearlong research into their diminishing population. Their numbers have been deemed as stable and healthy, so conservation groups received a refusal to their petition.
In March, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) initially started a petition to get the Alexander Archipelago wolves on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). That was based on initial estimations of their numbers, but launched into a 12 month-long review. Numerous groups have requested the animals to be placed under protection in the meantime.
In fact, the wolves commonly residing in Southeast Alaska have been the target of conservation groups for nearly the last two decades. However, their efforts seemed to have been put to rest. The decision on January 5th, 2016, deemed their population as stable, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided not to place them under their protection.
The Center for Biological Diversity released their estimations of the Alexander Archipelago wolves. They currently stand between 850 and 2,700, ranging from Southeast Alaska to Washington. Due to the animal’s elusive nature, a more precise number has been difficult to pin down. However, it seemed that the decision has been made regardless. The Alaskan wolf will not be receiving any sort of protection from the ESA.
The conclusion of their report arrived in spite of suggestions that their population has been in decline. In fact, there are only 89 wolves left on the Prince of Wales Island, registering a dip of 75% in the last few decades. This was due to logging operations, climate change, hunting, and development that disturbed their environment.
Given the drastic decrease in numbers, conservationists attempted to get the Alaskan wolves on the Prince of Wales Island recognized as a distinct group. That way, they will be offered protection solely in the area where they roam. However, the petition failed, so animals did not get any different treatment from the rest of the population. The agency stated that the wolves on the island represent just 6% of their species’ total number, thus there was no need for special protection.
The issue has also been swayed by the failing timber harvesting industry on the Prince of Wales Island. According to Senator Lisa Murkowski, the industry is only a tenth of what it used to be. The demands to add the Alaskan wolves as endangered would’ve had the sole purpose of completely shutting down those operations.
Murkowski commended the FWS’s decision, stating that the wolf population in Southeast Alaska is “healthy and stable in most places, and growing in others”. Thus, they are in no need of official protection that would’ve disturbed the logging operations and development, or placed restrictions on hunting.
Image source: huffingtonpost.com
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