Trapper shoots horse as bait to trap last breeding wolf from Toklat pack

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  June 2012:

Trapper shoots horse as bait to trap last breeding wolf from Toklat pack

DENALI NATIONAL PARK,  Alaska–Hunting guide Coke Wallace, of Healy,  has acknowledged walking an aged horse to the Stampede Trail near the northern boundary of Denali National Park,  shooting the horse,  and setting snares around the carcass.  The snares killed the last known breeding female wolf from the Grant Creek pack–the pack that roams the area made famous by the 1996 book by Jon Krakauer and 2007 feature film Into the Wild,  about the 1992 death nearby of 22-year-old would-be survivalist Christopher McCandless.
The Grant Creek pack,  also called the Toklat West pack,  is among the three wolf packs most often viewed and photographed by Denali visitors.  The pack has been continuously studied since 1939, first by Adolf Murie until his death in 1974,  then by Gordon Haber from 1966 until his death while spotting wolves from a light plane in 2009, and currently by Anchorage conservation biologist and former University of Alaska professor Rick Steiner.
“One of the dead wolves was equipped with a radio collar attached by scientists.  She was the only female from the pack known to have raised pups last year,”  reported Kim Murphy of the Los Angeles Times.  “The pack’s only other known breeding female was found dead near the pack’s den,  probably of natural causes.  A third wolf,  also snared near the horse carcass,  was a male who may or may not have been part of the Grant Creek pack,”  according to Denali
National Park biologist Tom Meier.
Wallace contended that the female wolf he snared was emaciated.  “Coke’s wolf was in a trap for a week and was scavenged by a wolverine before he ever even saw it,”  Meier responded to Murphy.  “These wolves aren’t starving.”  Meier pointed out that wolves are normally lean in spring,  after enduring the harsh Alaskan winters.
The Denali National Park wolf population has declined since 2006 from 103 wolves in 15 packs to 70 wolves in nine packs,  a 20-year low,  Meier said.
“The snares were within the former protected Denali buffer, where trapping and hunting of wolves was prohibited from 2002 to 2010,”  e-mailed Steiner.  “Ignoring several proposals to expand the no-take Denali wolf buffer zone–including a proposal from Denali National Park itself–the Alaska Board of Game instead eliminated the protective buffer and imposed a moratorium on future consideration of any Denali wolf protection buffer proposals until 2016.”
The Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Department of Fish & Game said Wallace had not broken any laws,  but downstream residents David and Susan Braun told the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation that the rotting horse carcass had contaminated their drinking water.
Friends of Animals and Defenders of Wildlife amplified appeals for the Denali buffer zone to be restored. Amid the controversy,  acting Alaska Division of Wildlife Conservation director Doug Vincent Lang on May 1,  2012 told Dan
Joling of Associated Press that the agency would do a year of further study before implementing a recommendation by the Alaska Board of Game that wolves,  black bears,  and grizzly bears should be culled on the Kenai Peninsula to boost the numbers of moose available to human hunters.

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