Chances of seeing a wolf in Alaska are pretty good. There are between seven to twelve thousand wolves in the state and they are found throughout the mainland and on all the major islands. Wolves are not known to inhabit cities but have been sighted on the outskirts of some major cities including Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau. They live in every type of habitat in Alaska from the southern forest areas to the northern Arctic tundra.
The density of a wolf population in an area depends on several factors, a major one being the density of the food available. Wolves are carnivores, with deer being their major food source in the south and caribou in the north. If the herds are plentiful, then wolves will most likely be more prevalent. The number of wolf packs in an area, weather and biological factors also effect wolf populations. A pack will establish control over a large territory and will defend their area from wolves not associated with their group.
Wolves live in packs of 6 to 7 animals, usually consisting of a breeding pair, offspring and several other non-breeding wolves. They work together in hunting for food and in raising the young.
A good place to spot wolves is at Denali National Park. Hundreds of passengers riding the park shuttle get to see wolves in their natural habitat, frequently close enough to the bus to get good photos. There are about 72 wolves in Denali National Park divided into 10 packs. At times, a pack is in the vicinity of the park road, and this past year people reported seeing pups as well as adults.
So put Denali National Park on your list of sites to see when you come to Alaska and maybe you’ll be among the lucky visitors to see this magnificent animal.