ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Packs of Denali National Park and Preserve wolves need protection against hunting and trapping when they stray outside park boundaries, according to a petition filed Thursday with the Alaska Board of Game.
The groups asked the board, which sets hunting seasons and bag limits, for an emergency order to restore a no-trapping buffer zone along the park's east side. Kristy Tibbles, the board's executive director, was not immediately available for comment.
Hunting and trapping in the area is set to reopen Nov. 1.
The killing of wolves outside the park is having a harmful effect, according to the petition by the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, the Alaska Center for the Environment, Defenders of Wildlife, National Parks Conservation Association and six individuals.
"Denali park wolves are a multimillion dollar resource to the Alaska visitor economy, and we are optimistic the Board of Game will recognize this fact, and make the wise choice here to protect this resource," said Tina Brown, President of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, in announcing the petition.
The recent history of the seven-member Board of Game, stacked with hunting advocates, indicates otherwise.
The board in recent years under a policy of increasing moose and caribou populations has authorized the systematic killing of hundreds of wolves, plus black bears and even grizzly bears.
The National Park Service in 2010 asked the board to expand a no-trapping zone for wolves on the northeast boundary of Denali parklands. The board not only rejected the 77-square-mile proposed expansion, it voted 4-3 to eliminate the buffer that had existed on 122 square miles of state land.
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