Alaskan Wolves Facts: Why Are They Misunderstood And How Can We Help | Kidadl


Alaskan Wolves Facts: Why Are They Misunderstood And How Can We Help

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They belong to subspecies of Canis lupus.

In 1905 they were named 'autocrat timber wolf' by Daniel Elliot and he differentiated them from northwestern wolves based on differences in their skull characteristics, and coat color. Later in 1944, they were named after the interior Alaskan wolf by Edward Goldman.

The average dimensions of a gray wolf or the Yukon wolf state they have a height of 33.46 in (85 cm). Adult male wolves weigh 124.12 lb (56.3 kg), whereas females weigh 84.88 lb (38.5 kg). In Denali National Park and Preserve, the weight varies: it is 115.96 lb (52.6 kg) for males; in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve an adult male weighs approximately 124.12 lb (56.3 kg) whereas 97 lb (44 kg) females are seen. The largest wolf was identified at Mackenzie Valley, weighing around 174.83 lb (79.3 kg).

Wolf packs may vary between seven to nine members. An isolated wolf can emigrate for an average of 310.69 mi (500 km) for breeding. They seem to get affected by rabies, blastomycosis, lice, mange, Lyme, distemper, canine parvovirus, and tuberculosis.

Their diet usually includes Dall sheep, mostly found in Kluane Game Sanctuary and in southern Yukon. Sitka black-tailed deer, barren-ground caribou population found in the north slope, and boreal woodland caribou also are their prey. They used to get hunted and sold to the local aboriginal population in the pre-colonial era.

Apart from the northern Alaska wolf, there are various different types of wolves, such as the Himalayan wolf, Mongolian wolf, Yukon wolves, red wolf, steppe wolf, Arctic tundra wolf, northern rocky mountain wolf, Eurasian wolf, northwestern wolf.

There are other wolves, which are differentiated based on their fur color including C. l. alces, C. l. arctos, C. l. irremotus, C. l. fuscus, C. l. baileyi, C. l. Bernardi, C. l. beothocus, C. l. columbianus, C. l. crassodon, C. l. hudsonicus, C. l. labradorius, C. l. occidentalis, C. l. youngi, C. l. Orion, C. l. nubilus, C. l. mogollensis, C. l. mackenzii, C. l. ligoni, C. l. Lycaon, C. l. manningi, C. l. monstrabilis, C. l. pambasileus, and C. l. tundrarum.

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Range And Habitat

They are highly populous in Teslin, Yukon, and Canada, with a range of nine per 386.1 sq mi (1000 sq km) and least populous in northern Yukon with a range of three per 386.1 sq mi (1000 sq km).

Wolf populations are commonly seen widely in the United States, Yukon, Interior Alaska, and the Arctic Tundra’s boreal forest, alpine, and subalpine areas.

They tend to emigrate over tundra, deserts, forests, woodlands, and grasslands. Howling and sniffing are considered as their medium of communication for grouping and solidifying their wolf packs while migrating, even among the gray wolves.

Arctic wolves sleep in a shallow trench, amongst rock outcroppings.

The diet of Mexican wolves includes small mammals, mules, elk, and white-tailed deer.

Tundra wolves can be seen in the northern parts of Europe and Asia.

Interior Alaskan Wolf

They belong to the mammal species of the world and are connected to the wild canine species.

Alaska wolves usually emigrate in packs of 2-15 and in these hierarchies, alpha male wolves try to establish their dominance. January to April are their breeding season and their gestation period is between 60-63 days. New pups arrive with a life expectancy of 8-15 years in the wild. The pups are fed through the process of mothers regurgitating their food.

They are widely spread over 586,000 sq mi (226255.87 sq km), dominating mainland Alaska, and Unimak Island. Being crepuscular and territorial, they are socially very competent which facilitates their hunting process while defending territories.

Once they get hold of any prey, they tend to indulge and make use of each and every part of the dead prey; it turns them into scavengers. Not being a good runner, with a pace of 4.97 mph (8 kph), they can be shockingly patient. Their bonding with their mates is strong.

Wolves have been degraded by the human population over the years and their survival expectancy relies on if we can coexist with them.

Predators And Prey

Being nocturnal, they usually prey in human dense areas at night. They can be active even in the daytime.

Their prey populations commonly include deer, elk, sheep, moose, caribou, bison, oxen, hare, and beaver. Moose population is on a downward way in southeast Alaska. After hunting down their prey, they can consume almost 6.61-19.84 lb (3-9 kg) of meat. They usually do not stay by farms but still, they were held culpable for killing livestock in the United States in 2018. In colder places, they drink less water. They absorb water from their diet and on occasions, from snow.

Surprisingly, a non-significant percentage of humans got attacked in Eurasia, North America, and India, causing casualties. Apex predators have a significant role in maintaining the balance in the ecosystem and the Artic wolf was identified as the main species.

Issues like territorial disputes can lead wolves to be hunted by other wolf packs and coyotes. Though wolf predators sometimes get detached from their wolf pack, it is very rare to find a wolf alone. Humans with the help of technology and machinery, have become the prominent cause of their decline, and wolves in some cultures were killed and hunted. Slain wolves were used for meat and wolf furs.

Reintroduction Of Aerial Wolf Hunting

Being a native predator in North America and southeast Alaska, there are severe moral and social compromises on saving wolves.

The Alaska Department for Fish and Game provides information on how humans can effectively coexist with wolves. Two aspects that the Alaska Department for Fish and Game mentions is the need to be aware of your surroundings when out in the wild and how to respond if you do encounter Alaska wolves at any time.

In 1933, the gray wolf population had been decimated in the United States by bounty hunters leaving a small population in Idaho, Michigan, and Montana. President Nixon introduced the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as a law in 1973. In the lower 48 states, gray wolves got earmarked as endangered species by ESA in 1974.

10(j) was a significant add-on by ESA to reintroduce species in 1982. In 1995, the gray wolf was reintroduced from Canada to Yellowstone and Idaho. The initiative had been taken by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Gray wolves were reclassified from Endangered to Threatened in 2000.

The management structure by Idaho, Montana got approved but Wyoming’s approval was declined by 2004. Later that year, the State of Wyoming challenged FWS with a lawsuit, only to lose in 2005 at Federal District Court, and FWS was defended by conservation groups.

The reclassification by FWS, protecting the wolves, got declined in the Oregon District Court in 2005 and livestock owners were gifted with the uplifting of restrictions on the prohibition of wolf killing under the new 10(j) rule by the Bush administration.

In 2006, FWS proposed to make them Threatened, based on Wyoming’s proper framework at the northern Rockies. Later the same year, Wyoming’s state appeal was called off by Judge Alan B. Johnson and he upheld the plan formulated by FWS. FWS delisted gray wolves from the northern Rockies in 2007; later that year Wyoming’s proposal finally got approved by FWS but the last new 10(j) rule was challenged by Earth Justice.

In 2008 wolves had been delisted from the northern Rockies, and later that year wolf 253, known as Hoppy or Limpy, was eliminated and the delisting process was challenged by Earth Justice. All the delistings were restored again. In 2009, wolves were delisted again by the Bush regulation and interior department, and blood sport occurred. In 2010, things were resolved for Idaho and Montana wolves.

In 2016, a helicopter intrusion happened, which blew out the protection agreement. The intrusion process was deemed illegal in 2017. The aim was to shoot down the wolves in the region.

Conserving Wolves

The human population has become a real issue when it comes to co-existing with wolves, and we really need to do something to retain wolf control and rehabilitate them.

In 2011, the district court’s approval of delisting meant that blood sport started again in Idaho and Montana. In 2013, the Interior Department put a hold on the delisting process in the lower 48 and questioned FWS's action. In Idaho, a request was proposed to the court by Earth Justice in 2014 and finally later that year, Idaho had withdrawn their delisting proposal.

In 2015, even in Wyoming, wolves possessed some defense. In 2021, Earth Justice challenged the Trump administration but with little support, they were met with humongous failure. On the basis of wolf control and ecology, some ergonomic management plans are made, as population control, protection, fencing, compensation, and wolf behavior management being used to mitigate conflicts with legislation.

Mutual avoidance and sharing space with wolves is something humans can assist with. The WDFW is constantly trying to recuperate these species and educate native citizens in a hope of the dissipation of general conflict. Many organizations conduct surveys to keep track of numerous wolves' populations using geotagging by radio-collared wolves, dart guns, trail cameras, and audio moths.

In 2019, a proposition was made by the Interior Department regarding delisting in the lower 48 and it got approved in 2021 by the Trump administration.

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Written By
Ayan Banerjee

<p>Thanks to his degree in nautical science from T.S. Chanakya, IMU Navi Mumbai Campus, Ayan excels at producing high-quality content across a range of genres, with a strong foundation in technical writing. Ayan's contributions as an esteemed member of the editorial board of The Indian Cadet magazine and a valued member of the Chanakya Literary Committee showcase his writing skills. In his free time, Ayan stays active through sports such as badminton, table tennis, trekking, and running marathons. His passion for travel and music also inspire his writing, providing valuable insights.</p>

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