Through hunting and trapping, the state says its goal is to kill about 300of the 400 wolves it believes were in the Fortymile area at the beginning of the fall season, leaving one to two wolves per 1,000 square kilometers. But Greg Dudgeon, superintendent of the federal Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, which borders Fortymile, says no one has a good count of the wolf population, or an ideal wolf-to-prey number. Federal biologists have been collaring, monitoring and studying wolf packs in the preserve, which has been run by the National Park Service since 1993, and have conducted extensive surveys on wolf populations in the area—leading them to believe that there are closer to 300 wolves in Fortymile.
But Dudgeon's main concern is that wolves from his preserve are moving into Fortymile, where they could be shot by state employees. As the culling program continues, wolves from the national preserve may migrate to Fortymile because there's less competition and more food. "Nature abhors a vacuum," Dudgeon says, "and wolves are great at filling that vacuum."