Wolf Annual Reports
2012 Annual Report Summary:
The winter of 2011–2012 was another good one for the Yukon-Charley wolves. Even though all the wolf packs that utilize Preserve lands routinely travel outside the Preserve boundary, there was very little travel of collared wolves, and based on the GPS data, there were no large forays by any collared packs beyond their typical home ranges. Staying within their home range all winter is somewhat unprecedented, being only the second time we have seen this (the other time being the winter of 2010–2011). For the past two winters, a large percentage of the Fortymile caribou herd wintered in the Charley River drainage, giving Preserve wolves plenty to eat and no reason to go on long distance forays to find enough to eat. The result is reduced dispersal, reduced mortality and a smaller drop in wolf numbers from fall to spring, which was 24% this past winter, despite eight wolves from the Lost Creek pack being shot from helicopters during Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s wolf control program. Overall, there was a fall mean pack size of 7.9 wolves (19-year average = 7.2) and a spring mean pack size of 5.5 wolves (19-year average = 5.0).
In spring (May – June), most packs localized at a wolf den, indicating the births of litters of pups. However, it appears that at least 3 packs may have lost their pups later in the summer. At this time, we do not know the cause of this apparent loss. Attempts this fall to count pups by radio telemetry have been severely hampered due to poor flying weather. We hope that by October and November we should have some idea of total numbers of wolves in each pack.
Learn more about current wolf monitoring and research being conducted in Yukon-Charley Rivers by downloading the 2012 Annual Wolf Monitoring Report (2.9mb PDF)
2011 Annual Report Summary:
Wolf populations have been monitored in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve from March 1993 to present. During FY2011, wolf captures were conducted in November 2010 and February 2011. Monitoring radiocollared packs via radio telemetry flights occurred throughout the year with concentrated periods of flights in March - April and September - November.
In winter 2010-2011, 15 wolves in 9 packs were captured and collared. Currently, we are following 18 collared wolves in 9 packs in the Preserve as part of the 18-year monitoring program. We had fair to good snow conditions for searching for uncollared packs and 3 new packs were found and 1 or 2 wolves collared in each of them (Yukon Fork, Woodchopper, and Tatonduk packs). Once again no wolves could be found to capture in the Kandik drainage but tracks of at least 5 wolves were seen.
Wolves continue to prove their resiliency as our preliminary counts for fall 2011 show good pup production and survival in several packs, with at least 71 wolves in 9 packs for a mean pack size of 7.9, which is greater than last year's 7.4, and above the 18 year average of 7.1.
Learn more about current wolf monitoring and research being conducted in Yukon-Charley Rivers by downloading the 2011 Annual Wolf Monitoring Report (2.7mb PDF).
2010 Annual Report Summary:
Wolves throughout the greater Yukon-Charley Rivers area are monitored for abundance and distribution. Wolf captures were conducted in November 2009 and February 2010. Monitoring
radio-collared packs via radio telemetry flights occurred throughout the year with concentrated periods of flights in March - April and September - October.
Nine wolves in six packs were captured and collared in three areas in the winter of 2009-2010. The Nation River Pack was found and two wolves were collared in the group of six wolves. Also, two wolves from a group of four were found and collared in the Webber Creek area. No wolves could be found to capture in the Kandik drainage but tracks of at least four wolves were seen.
The four Webber Creek wolves were shot and killed from a helicopter a month later by Alaska Department of Fish & Game during the State's wolf control effort after misunderstanding which wolves they were. ADF&G did avoid shooting at least three other packs of Preserve wolves which they identified by radio telemetry in the same operation.
Currently, we are following 18 collared wolves in nine packs in the Preserve as part of the 17-year monitoring program. A structured decision-making model was used by Superintendent Greg Dudgeon to decide to temporarily close the sport hunting and trapping seasons in Yukon-Charley last spring, while keeping the subsistence harvest of wolves open. The decision was based on the fact that, although wolf density (number of wolves per unit area) appeared stable, the actual count of total number of wolves dropped 41%, from 52 wolves in the fall to 31 wolves by February, plus the added threat of more wolves with home ranges in the Preserve being killed in the State's wolf control program outside the Yukon-Charley boundary.
Our preliminary counts for fall 2010 show good pup production and survival in several packs, which might produce a higher than average Fall 2010 wolf density.