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Anti-Tapping Resident Left the State; Now How Do We Get Him to be Quiet?

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / April 5, 2005

Denali National Park, AK -- The Alaska Board of Game is at odds with wildlife biologists who have been studying a pack of wolves that live in Denali National Park.

The wolves, known as the Toklat wolves to park visitors, have been studied for decades by wildlife biologist Gordon Haber and other scientists. The scientists have observed the wolves' hunting techniques, mating habits and social interdependence.

The animals are protected on federal land and have become habituated to people, but two older wolves have recently wandered into a narrow wedge of state land that juts into the national park's northeastern corner in search of caribou.

"Frankly, these wolves aren't as wary of humans as the average wolf," said Thomas Meier, a federal wildlife biologist for the park, told the Washington Post. "Trappers usually catch young wolves, stupid wolves, but that is not the case here. They are catching mature animals habituated to people."

Haber and others want the state to extend a no-trapping zone to protect the Toklat wolves.

The Alaska Board of Game, which says the state has plenty of wolves, has refused.

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