Grant Creek Wolf Pack, Denali

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Denali, Photos, Travel 6 Comments

Wild wolf, Denali National Park, Alaska.

Wild wolf, Denali National Park, Alaska.

Today I was really disappointed to read about the possible demise of the Grant Creek wolf pack in Denali in the Anchorage Daily News.

I remember when the current version began to form.  It started with a collared female wolf  – a wolf I had photographed a number of times out by Highway Pass and a beautiful black wolf from the East Fork Pack that I had also spent time photographing.  I was thrilled to see two wolves that I was familiar with unite the following summer and become the Grant Creek Pack.  I was even more excited when a biologist told me they had an active den!  (This is based mostly upon my observations, if someone knows otherwise I would love to hear it.)

Over the years I watched the wolf pack chase bears from the den, be ignored by bears, howl, hunt caribou and sheep – you name it.  On one wonderful day we were able to watch the young pups right after they left the den.  I have thousands of images of this pack of wolves – many by camera, but even more burned into my memory.

Although their den was out of sight from the road, it was very near the highway making these wolves highly visible, especially in the first half of the summer.  Because this pack was so visible, it probably gave thousands of visitors to Denali their first and only sighting of a wolf in the wild.

By spending most of their life in a National Park, these wolves don’t develop a fear of humans that you typically see in wolves.  So when they do wonder outside the Park boundaries they become easy targets.  As large as Alaska is, it is too bad we can’t set aside enough land to protect just one pack.

Here are some more wild wolf photos.

Comments 6

  1. This is horrible news. I can’t believe these endangered wolves can be legally hunted and so close to the park. I remember being so excited last year getting to see and photograph wolves near the road at Denali. That is so cool that you got to spend a lot of time photographing them. I hope they stop hunting them soon and their numbers recover.
    Never got to see the ones in Yellowstone which have declined.

  2. Post
    Author

    It is a bummer. According to Anchorage television news reports – that area has been a closed buffer for wolves and was only opened again in 2010.

  3. Do the majority of Alaskans support this? For those that don’t, are they doing anything to reverse these policies or do they just say “oh, too bad” then move on? If they’re not interested in paying back the wild animals that help them make their living, I would think at least self-interest might motivate people who sell wild Alaska experiences and images.

  4. Post
    Author

    I would say that Alaskan’s are very divided, but that the majority do not support this or aerial wolf control that was voted down by the voters at one point – but the Game Board has a lot of power.

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