The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the popular alpha female in the Toklat wolf pack, which has delighted visitors to Denali National Park and Preserve for years, was killed by a trapper outside park boundaries. The radio-collared wolf was killed Feb. 11 by a trapper on state land on the Savage River within a few hundred feet of the park’s northeast boundary and on the outside edge of a wolf buffer zone created in 2001.
The 10 remaining wolves in the Toklat wolf pack, including the dead wolf’s mate and eight young produced in 2003 and 2004, went almost straightaway to the group’s den 13 miles away. The pack also includes an unrelated female that joined up last summer.
Denning this time of year is unusual, Haber said, and was likely an indication of confusion and stress within the pack.
Haber returned to the area the next day and saw the pack headed to the trapping area again. Once there, the alpha male headed to a ridge and howled repeatedly. “The next day they came right back to the trapping area again, with the alpha male leading… call-howling his mate,” he said.
It is likely the remaining wolves will continue to return to the area between now and the end of trapping season April 30.
Haber said he tried to convince the trapper to remove his traps but was not successful.
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