8 Dec 2010, 12:10pm
Latest Wildlife News
by admin

Hungry wolves spark fear in Southwest Alaska village

ACTION: Town wants Fish and Game to allow hunts from the air.

By Mary Pemberton, Anchorage Daily News, 12/07/2010 [here]

Mayor Scott Anderson doesn’t travel around his small town of Port Heiden unarmed. Neither do his neighbors.

That’s because hungry wolves have been wandering into town in search of food, sneaking into yards and snatching dogs and cats.

More evidence of that was found Tuesday morning. A pool of blood was discovered on a village road, and Anderson said you could see where wolves dragged the animal away.

Another dog had been killed.

It is hunger that is bringing the wolves to this town of about 100 people. While wolves have sneaked into Port Heiden for food before, it is usually just one or two of the animals, and they arrive at night.

This is different. These wolves are bold and hard to scare off. Sometimes they just sit and stare.

Now, the wolves are showing up during the day.

The wolves could be descending on Port Heiden for several reasons. Perhaps it’s because the dwindling number of caribou in the area tend to gather near the town to find protection from predators. It could be because now that the bears are gone, wolves are feeding on the carcasses of walrus and other marine mammals that wash ashore near Port Heiden.

At least three packs of wolves have been bothering the town. The largest pack is made up of about 20 animals; the others have between seven and 15 wolves.

Immediate action needs to be taken, Anderson said. The town about 425 miles southwest of Anchorage wants the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to allow aircraft to be used to track and kill the aggressive wolves.

A Fish and Game area biologist held a town meeting in Port Heiden on Monday.

“The strange thing is the number of wolves they are reporting,” said region supervisor Bruce Dale. He said Fish and Game is coming up with an action plan.

In the meantime, everyone in Port Heiden is armed. The mayor travels the town on a four-wheeler with a rifle strapped on the back.

“You won’t see anybody walking around without a gun around here,” said lifelong Port Heiden resident James Christensen, 45. “You could open any car door in this town and you will see a rifle sitting on the seat.” … [more]



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