Wolf Taken on Military Land Due to Public Safety Concerns
Department of Fish and Game (ADF&FG) staff killed a wolf in the area of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) near Eagle River and Chugiak on Wednesday afternoon.
ADF&G and Military officials have been working cooperating to reduce the number of wolves on the base after reports of wolves approaching and threatening people. ADF&G and JBER biologists are using progressively more intense methods beginning with opportunistic shooting and then trapping. Officials will reevaluate the approach at the end of January.
Wolves in the area have displayed increasingly habituated and aggressive behavior towards humans and have killed or injured dogs and other livestock.
“It’s not common for wolves to become aggressive toward people, but when they do, it’s a public safety issue,” said Regional Supervisor, Mark Burch. “While wolf attacks on humans are rare, this lack of fear and aggression is the kind of behavior seen by wolves that have attacked people in the past, so we are doing what we can to minimize the risks.”
People on the military base can minimize their risk of a wolf encounter by walking dogs in the populated areas. People should travel in groups, stay on well-used roads and always keep dogs on a leash. If approached by a wolf or wolves, stay calm, and don’t run, but do act aggressively toward the wolf. Air horns or bear spray can help deter advancing wolves. Always be alert when traveling in wolf habitat; do not wear ear plugs or head phones. Children should always be accompanied by an adult when walking in areas where wolves are known to roam.
Officials would like people to report wolf sightings on base or near homes or in neighborhoods or wolf encounters. Contact a base dispatcher immediately, 522-3421, or call the Division of Wildlife Conservation Information Center, 267-2257 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For information on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson contact 907-552-8143.
For detailed information about coexisting with wolves, preventing habituation, and staying safe in wolf country, visits www.wc.adfg.state.ak.us/management/wolves/living_in_wolf_country.pdf