Wolves and bears are very effective and efficient predators on caribou, moose, deer and other wildlife. In most of Alaska, humans also rely on the same species for food. In Alaska's Interior, predators kill more than 80 percent of the moose and caribou that die during an average year, while humans kill less than 10 percent. In most of the state, predation holds prey populations at levels far below what could be supported by the habitat in the area. Predation is an important part of the ecosystem, and all ADF&G wolf management programs, including control programs, are designed to sustain wolf populations in the future.
The Alaska Board of Game approves wildlife regulations through a public participation process. When the Board determines that people need more moose and/or caribou in a particular area, and restrictions on hunting aren't enough to allow prey populations to increase, predator control programs may be needed. Wolf hunting and trapping rarely reduces wolf numbers enough to increase prey numbers or harvests.
Currently, five wolf control programs are underway that comprises about 6% of Alaska's land area. The programs use a closely controlled permit system allowing aerial or same day airborne methods to remove wolves in designated areas. In these areas, wolf numbers will be temporarily reduced, but wolves will not be permanently eliminated from any area. Successful programs allow humans to take more moose, and healthy populations of wolves to continue to thrive in Alaska.