WOLF CONTROL - TAKE SOME AND LEAVE SOME
From January 1976 through July 1978 wolf (Canis lupus) control was conducted in a 7262 km2 (2804 mi2) area in the upper Susitna River Basin of southcentral Alaska in an effort to improve moose (Alces alces) calf survival. Sixty wolves were killed by Department personnel by shooting from helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft. While control was in progress spring wolf densities were reduced by an average of 51% of precontrol densities. Repopulation of the area occurred annually through immigration and reproduction, requiring constant control effort to keep wolf densities at low levels. One control terminated in summer 1978 the wolf population grew quickly and within one denning season had increased to within 81% of the precontrol level and by 1980-81 had exceeded it. Costs of removing instrumented versus noninstrumented wolves were compared; it was less expensive to radio-collar members of packs before initiating control. We speculate that wolf control would be more economical and effective if 2-3 adult members of each pack were radio-collared and not removed.
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