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Alexander Archipelago Wolf Fact Sheet

Species Information:
The Alexander Archipelago wolf (Canis lupus ligoniis), a subspecies of gray wolf, is named for the island group that makes up most of Southeast Alaska, the Alexander Archipelago. They are very rare, with an estimated population of fewer than 1,000 in the 1990s. Their range is limited by geological factors including large water barriers between islands and the mainland, a tall coastal mountain chain, and glaciers and ice fields. Within this landscape, they fill an important ecological role as an apex predator.

Petition for Federal Protection:
The Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace submitted a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on August 10, 2011, requesting that the Alexander Archipelago wolf be listed as endangered or threatened. They argue that these wolves face severe threats from logging, road building, legal and illegal harvest, small and isolated population structure, and climate change. This crisis is particularly severe given the specifics of their habitat, because these wolves are more vulnerable to population declines, extinctions, and loss of genetic diversity as a result of their small, isolated, and largely island-based populations.

Furthermore, the petition argues that existing state and federal regulatory mechanisms for hunting and trapping are inadequate for sustainable wolf management. Bag limits and harvest caps for legal hunting are ineffective, because as much as half of the wolf harvest in this region is illegal and unreported.

Federal Response:
The FWS posted a 90-Day Finding on March 31, 2014, announcing that the petition presented convincing evidence that listing the Alexander Archipelago wolf may be warranted. This notice informed the public that, when resources become available, they will conduct a review of the status of the species and make a final determination about listing it. They also requested scientific and commercial data, as well as other information from the public to assist them with this review (see “Request for Information” on the notice for more details).

Take Action:
If you have new scientific or commercial data to provide for the FWS status review, you can submit it here. The deadline is May 30, 2014.

For more information about wolves, check out our main fact sheet on the gray wolf.

For information about another imperiled subspecies, the Mexican gray wolf, click here.

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