The Alexander Archipelago Wolf: A Conservation Assessment

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ABSTRACT Person, David K.; Kirchhoff, Matthew; Van Ballenberghe, Victor; Iverson, George C.; Grossman, Edward. 1996. The Alexander Archipelago wolf: a conservation assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-384. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 42 p. (Shaw, Charles G., III, tech. coord.; Conservation and resource assessments for the Tongass land management plan revision). We summarized the scientific information available for the Alexander Archipelago wolf (Canis lupus ligoni) in the Tongass National Forest of southeast Alaska. Information concerning the morphology, distribution, taxonomy, genetics, and ecology of wolves are presented. Three issues for the conservation of wolves in southeast Alaska are discussed: loss of long-term carrying capacity for deer due primarily to extensive timber harvesting, increased mortality of wolves associated with improved human access from roads, and continued high levels of harvest of wolves by humans....

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    ABSTRACT: Wolves of coastal northwest North America (Prince of Wales Island, Alaska and southeast Alaska; northwest British Columbia) have a close evolutionary history and are genetically and morphologically unique from all other wolves. Habitat fragmentation, loss of prey abundance, hunting and culling facilitated by logging roads have disproportionally impacted wolf populations in these parts of Alaska where hunting of wolves is performed at approximately 30% to 40% per annum of the estimated population size, and is conducted pack-by-pack and not randomly. It is carried out to preserve high numbers of ungulates so that the ungulates for hunting. This level of wolf hunting is believed to have no long-term impact on this wolf metapopulation. Three management units (MUs) in this highly complex biogeographical area have been proposed: (i) Prince of Wales Island, Alaska (represented by n=45 wolf DNA samples), (ii) southeast Alaskan islands and adjacent mainland (n=31), and (iii) the control unit, British Columbia, Canada (n=42) which receives <2% hunting per annum. The genetic effects of this hunting were investigated in the present study by genotyping 13 microsatellite markers in a total of 118 wolves from the three MUs. The alleles in Alaskan MUs were a subset of those in British Columbia, and the allele frequencies were statistically significantly different between all pairs of MUs. Both Alaskan MUs were genetically homogeneous when compared with British Columbia, with the least variable being Prince of Wales Island. The most likely number of clusters was three when STRUCTURE 2.2 analysis was performed, further supporting the division of wolves into three MUs. Fine scale structuring was found within southeast Alaska. A general trend of dispersal from British Columbia in the south, to southeast Alaska in the north was detected, where high levels of hunting occur. Thus, I propose that the southeast Alaska MU is a sink in this metapopulation. Prince of Wales Island was highly differentiated from both the mainland MUs, suggesting a strong affect of hunting, isolation and random genetic drift. With British Columbia’s plans to somewhat mirror the land management of these Alaskan regions, the sustainability of these actions is questionable. Also of conservation concern is the presence of domestic dogs in remote parts of British Columbia and southeast Alaska, since this imposes risks due to possible hybridisation and the transmission of disease to the wolves.
    01/2007, Degree: MSc Evolutionary Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The Alexander Archipelago of southeast Alaska is a highly fragmented landscape that is suspected to support a relatively large number of endemic mammals. At least two subspecies of northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) have been recognized from the region, the endemic Prince of Wales Island flying squirrel, Glaucomys sabrinus griseifrons, and the Alaska Coast flying squirrel, G. s. zaphaeus. We examined 56 northern flying squirrels from Alaska, Washington State, and Yukon Territory, using the DNA sequence from the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene to assess geographic variation. Flying squirrels from Washington were highly divergent (7.3%) from those of Alaska and Yukon Territory. Variation among Alaska and Yukon Territory populations was minimal, but five haplotypes were found. One predominantly "mainland" haplotype was widespread throughout Alaska, one island haplotype was confined to nine islands in southeast Alaska ("Prince of Wales complex"), and three haplotypes were unique. Flying squirrels of the Prince of Wales complex appear to be neoendemics and descended from a single founder population. Mitochondrial variation, although minimal, is consistent with the continued recognition of G. s. griseifrons. Our results, in light of increased habitat fragmentation in southeast Alaska, suggest that molecular data can provide important base-line information for effective management of insular populations.
    Canadian Journal of Zoology 09/1998; 76(9):1771-1777. DOI:10.1139/cjz-76-9-1771 · 1.35 Impact Factor


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