Slaughtering wolves on the Alaska Peninsula appears to have had the desired effect -- more caribou got a chance to live, according to biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Fall surveys of the Southern Alaska Peninsula caribou herd completed in October found an average of 39 calves per 100 cows. That's a dramatic improvement from fall counts of only 1 calf per 100 cows in 2006 and 2007.
The success of past wolf-control programs, and of some of those still under way elsewhere in the state, has varied significantly, depending on what predators were involved. In some cases, bears, eagles and climate have proved to have more influence on calf survival than wolves.
In this case, however, even some groups staunchly opposed to Alaska wolf-control efforts are conceding the removal of 28 wolves appears to have played a major role in caribou calf survival.
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"I think that certainly is good news," said John Toppenberg of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance. "I am supportive of that goal. How they arrived at that I might have an issue with."
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