Endangered Species
Alaska Region   


Alexander Archipelago Wolf

(Canis lupus ligoni)

Designation: In January 2016, we published a “not warranted” 12-Month Finding in the Federal Register.
Critical Habitat: None designated

Distribution: The Alexander Archipelago wolf currently occurs along the mainland of southeastern Alaska and coastal British Columbia and on several island complexes, which comprise more than 22,000 islands of varying size, west of the Coast Mountain Range. Wolves are found on all of the larger islands except Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof islands and all of the Haida Gwaii, or Queen Charlotte Islands. The topography is rugged with numerous deep, glacially-carved fjords and several major river systems, some of which penetrate the Coast Mountain Range, connecting southeastern Alaska and coastal British Columbia with interior British Columbia and Yukon Territory. These corridors serve as intergradation zones of variable width with interior continental wolves; outside of them, glaciers and ice fields dominate the higher elevations, separating the coastal forests from the adjacent inland forest in continental Canada.

Population: The Alexander Archipelago wolf population size is uncertain, but using the most recent and best available information, we estimate a current, rangewide population of 850–2,700 Alexander Archipelago wolves. Prince of Wales Island and surrounding islands are estimated to support approximately 50 to 159 wolves. The best available information indicates that the populations of Alexander Archipelago wolf in most of Southeast Alaska and coastal British Columbia are likely stable, but the population has declined on Prince of Wales Island in recent years.

Stressors: Across their range, Alexander Archipelago wolves are faced with multiple stressors, some of which when combined have a greater effect, including timber harvest, road development, wolf harvest, and climate-related events. However, as evidenced by the stability of the wolf populations in coastal British Columbia, coastal wolves, like gray wolves, are resilient to various stressors provided that they have access to sufficient food supply and are not over-exploited by humans. The only Alexander Archipelago wolf population that appears to be affected negatively by cumulative stressors facing it is the Prince of Wales Island and surrounding islands population (Game Management Unit 2). However, GMU 2 constitutes only 4% of the range of the Alexander Archipelago wolf and 6% of the rangewide population; therefore, negative population impacts in GMU 2 likely do not affect the rangewide population significantly.

Conservation efforts: We will continue to work with partners to conserve wolf populations in southeastern Alaska and coastal British Columbia. If new information emerges that suggests we should take another look at whether the species should be protected under the ESA, we will do so.

Contact: Socheata Lor at 907-271-2787

Federal Register Notice (January 5, 2016)
Species Status Assessment
Population Model Report
Q and A
Learn more on the National USFWS Species Profile page


Last updated: January 2016