WOLVES, BEARS, AND THEIR PREY IN ALASKA

Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management

Committee on Management of Wolf and Bear Populations in Alaska

Board on Biology

Commission on Life Sciences

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, DC
1997



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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management WOLVES, BEARS, AND THEIR PREY IN ALASKA Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management Committee on Management of Wolf and Bear Populations in Alaska Board on Biology Commission on Life Sciences National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, DC 1997

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. In preparing its report, the committee invited people with different perspectives to present their views. Such invitation does not imply endorsement of those views. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This study by the National Research Council’s Commission on Life Sciences was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation under contract no. N01-OD-4-2139. Points of view in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the sponsoring agencies. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 97-75390 International Standard Book Number 0-309-06405-8 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Ave., NW Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area) http://www.nap.edu Cover art created by Vivianna Padilla. Copyright 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management COMMITTEE ON MANAGEMENT OF WOLF AND BEAR POPULATIONS IN ALASKA GORDON H. ORIANS (Chair) University of Washington, Seattle, WA PATRICIA A. COCHRAN, Alaska Native Science Commission, Anchorage, AK JOHN W. DUFFIELD, University of Montana, Missoula, MT TODD K. FULLER, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA RALPH J. GUTIERREZ, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA W. MICHAEL HANEMANN, University of California, Berkeley, CA FRANCES C. JAMES, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL PETER KAREIVA, University of Washington, Seattle, WA STEPHEN R. KELLERT, Yale University, New Haven, CT DAVID KLEIN, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK BRUCE N. MCLELLAN, British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Revelstoke, BC, Canada PERRY D. OLSON, Colorado Fish and Wildlife Department, Lakewood, CO GEORGE YASKA, Tanana Chiefs Conference, Fairbanks, AK Staff JANET E. JOY, Study Director NORMAN GROSSBLATT, Editor JEFF PECK, Project Assistant (through January 1997) ALLISON SONDAK, Project Assistant

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management BOARD ON BIOLOGY MICHAEL T. CLEGG (Chair) University of California, Riverside, CA JOHN C. AVISE, University of Georgia, Athens, GA DAVID EISENBERG, University of California, Los Angeles, CA GERALD D. FISCHBACH, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA DAVID J. GALAS, Darwin Molecular Corporation, Bothell, WA DAVID GOEDDEL, Tularik, Incorporated, South San Francisco, CA ARTURO GOMEZ-POMPA, University of California, Riverside, CA COREY S. GOODMAN, University of California, Berkeley, CA BRUCE R. LEVIN, Emory University, Atlanta, GA OLGA F. LINARES, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama ELLIOT M. MEYEROWITZ, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA ROBERT T. PAINE, University of Washington, Seattle, WA RONALD R. SEDEROFF, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC DANIEL SIMBERLOFF, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN ROBERT R. SOKAL, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY SHIRLEY M. TILGHMAN, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ RAYMOND L. WHITE, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT Staff PAUL GILMAN, Acting Director ERIC A. FISCHER, Director (through December 1996) JANET E. JOY, Program Officer TANIA WILLIAMS, Program Officer KATHLEEN BEIL, Administrative Assistant ERIKA SHUGART, Research Assistant ALLISON SONDAK, Project Assistant JEFF PECK, Project Assistant (through January 1997)

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management COMMISSION ON LIFE SCIENCES THOMAS D. POLLARD (Chair) The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA FREDERICK R. ANDERSON, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Washington, DC JOHN C. BAILAR, III, University of Chicago, IL PAUL BERG, Stanford University, Stanford, CA JOHN E. BURRIS, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA SHARON L. DUNWOODY, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI URSULA W. GOODENOUGH, Washington University, St. Louis, MI HENRY W. HEIKKINEN, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO HANS J. KENDE, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI SUSAN E. LEEMAN, Boston University School of Medicine, MA JOSEPH E. MURRAY, Wellesley Hills, MA MALCOLM C. PIKE, Norris/USC Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA HENRY C. PITOT, III, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI JONATHAN M. SAMET, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD CHARLES F. STEVENS, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA JOHN L. VANDEBERG, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, TX Staff PAUL GILMAN, Executive Director SOLVEIG PADILLA, Administrative Assistant

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the national Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management Preface Management of wildlife in Alaska is carried out by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), Division of Wildlife Conservation, guided by policies established by the Board of Game (BOG), which has constitutional and statutory authority to set game policy direction and to regulate game harvest and management. Most management actions implemented by ADFG are not controversial, but wolf control and management in Alaska have become increasingly difficult because public perceptions of the roles and values of predators and the ethics of predator control are changing. Conflicts among people with different interests in wolves are intense. The governor of Alaska, Tony Knowles, suspended the state's wolf control program in late 1994 because he judged it to be unacceptable in its treatment of wolves, as well as nontargeted species. He stated that he would not reinstate predator control unless it met these tests: (1) it must be based on solid science; (2) a full cost-benefit analysis must show that it makes economic sense for Alaskans; and (3) it must have broad public support. In July 1995, Governor Knowles asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to undertake a scientific and economic review of management of wolves and bears in Alaska. In July 1996, the National Research Council, the operating agency of the NAS, established the committee on the Management of Wolf and Bear Populations in Alaska. The committee's mandate was to synthesize what is known about the biological aspects of wolf and bear management in Alaska, with particular emphasis on the degree of certainty one can have about predictions about the impact of wolf or bear management on both predator and prey populations. In addition, the committee was asked to identify additional biological data that should be collected

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management when planning, conducting, or evaluating predator management programs. (We use the terms management and control as defined by ADFG to include alterations in populations by any method, whether by killing, translocation, or diversionary feeding.) As part of the economic review, the committee was asked to evaluate the methods that are most relevant for assessing the costs and benefits of predator management programs in Alaska, and to identify what types of data should be collected for an appropriate economic analysis of predator management. The committee used a variety of methods to assemble the information it needed to carry out its mandate. It held four meetings between September 1996 and March 1997, including forums in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and three villages in the Alaskan interior. Input was solicited from a wide variety of organizations representing hunters, Alaskan Natives, trappers, animal welfare advocates, and tourism associations. The committee assembled, analyzed, and interpreted existing scientific literature on dynamic relationships among wolves, bears, and their prey, and control and management programs in Alaska and other high latitude regions. The committee analyzed all available information on the economic values of consumptive and nonconsumptive use of the focal species, together with data on public attitudes towards predators, their prey, and the goals and methods employed in predator management and control efforts. The committee sought to show how to improve the ability to predict the outcome of implementing a management program, and to increase public confidence that decisions were being made using all available relevant information, and that the information was analyzed and interpreted appropriately. In addition, the committee assessed which information collected during a management program would be most valuable in removing uncertainties that have important policy implications. The committee emphasizes, however, that it makes no recommendations about whether predator control should or should not be carried out. To attempt to do so would go well beyond its mandate. Whether and when to control or not control predators is a policy decision to be made by the BOG, based on input from the public and recommendations and data provided by State and Federal and agency personnel. The role of the committee was to advise on the ways that scientific, socioeconomic, and decision-making data can best be used to assist managers to make wise decisions. To carry out its mandate, the committee gathered information on the goals and objectives of wolf control and wolf and bear management in Alaska, the extent and nature of local knowledge of predators and prey, and the population dynamics of mammalian predators and their prey in managed and unmanaged northern ecosystems. The committee analyzed past predator control and management programs in Alaska and other northern regions to determine the biological consequences of actions carried out under different conditions and using varied methods. The committee also evaluated studies of the attitudes of all segments of the Alaskan population toward predator control and management and the methods

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management used to accomplish it, and analyzed what was known about the economic value of consumptive and nonconsumptive use of wolves, bears, moose, and caribou. In its work, the committee was assisted by many people, among whom are those who addressed the committee at its public sessions in Anchorage and Fairbanks and wrote letters in which they shared their views and information with us. Our understanding of the different needs and perceptions of native Alaskans was improved by meeting with people in Aniak, McGrath, and Galena. We thank them and the people who helped arrange our visits to those villages. ADFG biologists, social scientists, and managers were particularly helpful in providing access to their data, some of which were unpublished, and they responded quickly to help us verify facts and track down published papers and unpublished manuscripts. Committee members also met and corresponded with scientists from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the Yukon Territorial Government, British Columbia Ministry of Environment, and independent scientists to become familiar with the full array of information that has been gathered by the many scientists, social scientists, and managers who have worked on wildlife management problems in Alaska and northern Canada. This report was improved by a group of anonymous reviewers who provided the committee with prompt and insightful evaluations of the semifinal draft of the report. All members of the committee gave generously of their time to assist writing the report and to engage in the extensive discussions that were necessary to achieve consensus on a wide range of complex issues. In our work, we were ably assisted by NRC staff Janet Joy, Jeff Peck, and Allison Sondak. Their care and tending of the committee contributed much to our efforts and our final report. Janet in particular worked overtime to bring this report to a timely completion while she changed positions at the NRC. Gordon H. Orians, Chair

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1     Predator Control and Management: Past and Present,   2     Alaska's People, Biomes, and Wildlife Species of Concern,   2     Predator-Prey Interactions,   4     Wolf and Bear Management: Experiments and Evaluations,   5     Social and Economic Implications of Predator Control,   6     Conclusions and Recommendations,   10 1   INTRODUCTION   14     Background,   14     The Committee and Its Mandate,   20     How The Committee Carried Out Its Task,   22     Organization of the Report,   25     References,   26 2   PREDATOR CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT: PAST AND PRESENT   27     History of Predator Control in Alaska,   27     Decision-Making by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game,   30     References,   33 3   ALASKA'S PEOPLE, BIOMES, AND WILDLIFE SPECIES OF CONCERN   35     Introduction,   35     The People of Alaska,   36

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management     Biomes: Climate, Vegetation, Soils, Permafrost,   37     Ecology of Large Mammals in Northern Ecosystems,   41     References,   71 4   PREDATOR-PREY INTERACTIONS   82     Theory of Predator-Prey Interactions,   82     Integrating Theory and Data,   85     References,   88 5   WOLF AND BEAR MANAGEMENT: EXPERIMENTS AND EVALUATIONS   90     Introduction,   90     Air-Assisted Wolf Control,   91     Ground-Based Wolf Control,   111     Nonlethal Methods to Reduce Wolf and Bear Predation on Ungulates,   114     Evaluation of Predator Control Experiments,   116     Adaptive Management Requires an Experimental Approach,   122     Making a Decision to Initiate a Predator Control Action,   126     References,   131 6   SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF PREDATOR CONTROL   134     Introduction,   134     North American Attitudes to Wolves, Bears, and Predator Management,   135     Alaskan Attitudes Toward Wildlife,   137     Conceptual Framework for Economic Assessment,   141     Economic Impacts of Predator Control on Non-Native Residents and Nonresidents,   148     Economic Impacts of Predator Control on Native and Subsistence Peoples,   160     Social and Economic Impacts in Relation to Decision-Making on Wolf Control,   169     References,   169 7   DECISION-MAKING   174     The General Decision-Making Framework,   175     Constraints on Wildlife Management Decision-Making in Alaska,   176     Incorporating Indigenous Knowledge into Decision-Making,   177     Multi-jurisdictional Management of Wolves, Bears, and Their Major Prey,   180     Reference,   181

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management 8   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   182     Introduction,   182     Biological Conclusions and Recommendations,   182     Socioeconomic Conclusions and Recommendations,   189     APPENDIXES     A   Letter from Governor Tony Knowles Requesting Study   195 B   Biographical Information on Committee Members   198 C   Wolves and Caribou in GMU 20   202 TABLES 3.1   Changes in Winter Wolf Density After Various Amounts of Wolf Control,   52 3.2   Estimated Size and Approximate Density of Alaskan Caribou Herds,   64 3.3   Comparative Population Characteristics of Moose and Caribou,   68 3.4   Cause-Specific Mortality (%) of Radio-Collared Caribou Calves in Areas of Southern Alaska and British Columbia,   69 3.5   Cause-Specific Mortality (%) of Radio-Collared Moose Calves in Alaska and the Yukon,   70 5.1   Predator Reductions Discussed in Chapter 5,   91 5.2   Summary of Wolf Reduction in Northern British Columbia,   104 5.3   Predator Control Experiments Discussed in Chapter 5,   118 6.1   Estimated Average Net Economic Value of Trip for Different Species,   150 FIGURES 1.1   Game management units of Alaska,   16 3.1   Major biogeographic regions of Alaska,   38 3.2   Alaska wolf densities,   45 3.3   The general location of radio-marked wolf packs,   51 3.4   Distribution and density of Alaska brown bears,   56 3.5   Approximate ranges of caribou herds in Alaska,   63 4.1   Multiple equilibria,   87 5.1   Locations of case studies discussed in chapter 5,   92 5.2   Study area in interior Alaska (GMU 20A) where wolves were controlled during 7 winters,   93

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management 5.3   Location of the Finlayson study area in the Yukon, Canada,   96 5.4   Location of the wolf control study area in the southwest Yukon, Canada,   99 5.5   Location of the Aishihik study area in the Yukon, Canada,   102 5.6   Location of wolf control areas in northern British Columbia, Canada,   105 5.7   Experimental area (with wolf removal) and 2 control areas (without wolf removal) in GMU 20E, Alaska, and adjacent Yukon, Canada,   110 6.1   Distribution of public land ownership in Alaska,   143 C.1   Correlations between key caribou demographics and several possible causal factors,   204 C.2   Caribou survival as a function of wolf numbers,   205 C.3   Caribou survival as a function of winter snow,   206

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Wolves, Bears, and their Prey in Alaska: Biological and Social Challenges in Wildlife Management WOLVES, BEARS, AND THEIR PREY IN ALASKA

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