Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
YUKON FLATS: Wolf takes a 300 mile walkabout
Alaska Region, April 15, 2011
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Previously, tales of amazing journeys or migrations from the Yukon Flats Refuge were limited to ducks. Like the American Widgeon that was banded on the Refuge in August 1964 and recovered in Colombia by a hunter that December. Departing from this trend, recently it was learned that a wolf from the Yukon Flats Refuge took a journey of more than 300 miles to the Nelchina Basin where it was trapped. 


The wolf was captured and collared on April 11, 2010, last observed with its pack on May 20, 2010 and had departed by May 26, 2010 when it was located 18 miles away. Subsequent aerial tracking flights failed to locate it. Numerous obstacles existed along the wolf’s journey, including crossing the Yukon River, White Mountains, and Alaska Range. 


The movement by this wolf demonstrates such obstacles are probably not that much of a barrier to dispersal for wolves. While long distance travels are not unusual in the life history of wolves, this journey was noteworthy for a couple of reasons: It is the first documented long distance dispersal from this region, and it is another example of what can be learned from reporting of harvest by the public. Similar to the migration of the duck that was reported by a hunter, the wolf’s journey would have gone unknown if not for the trapper that reported it.

Contact Info: Bryce Lake, 907-456-0503, Bryce_Lake@fws.gov
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