U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to deny listing the Alexander Archipelago wolf as either threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“Alaska has the largest population of gray wolves in America. There is agreement that the gray wolf population in Southeast Alaska is healthy and stable in most places and growing in others,” Murkowski said. “At a time when timber harvesting on Prince of Wales Island is barely a tenth of its levels of two decades ago, the attempt by some environmental groups to list the wolf seemed to be an effort solely to end the last of the remaining timber industry in Southeast Alaska. Fortunately, it did not work.”
Murkowski welcomed the agency’s decision that no listing was warranted and that wolves on Prince of Wales and nearby islands do not qualify as a distinct population segment for listing under the ESA. Murkowski, in comments to the Service in the Summer of 2015, argued that the listing was not needed given changes in hunting and trapping quotas by the Alaska Board of Game and because of policies of the Service. Murkowski also expressed concern that a listing could have affected timber harvesting and other activities on both public and private lands on Prince of Wales Island, and perhaps in other parts of Southeast.