Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, announced that the Unit 2 wolf harvest for regulatory year 2015-16 would be set at nine wolves in Game Management Unit 2 (which includes Prince of Wales). This decision is appalling as the Prince of Wales wolves have been nearly wiped out with a confirmed 60% decline of the population, pushing this iconic species to the brink of extinction with numbers possibly as low as 50 to 60 individuals. Fish and Game's report estimated that the wolf population on and around Prince of Wales in fall 2014 was between 50 and 159, and more than likely approximately 89 wolves, down from the estimated population of 250 to 350 in 1993. This report also stated that females have been reduced to only 25 % of the plummeting population, completely compromising the wolves' ability to recover from their decline. This estimate does not account for the 29 wolves reported taken in the 2014/2015 winter hunting and trapping season [which represents a loss of 1/3 of the entire population]. This estimate, also, does not account for any illegal takes during that time or since, which studies indicate are substantial.
Data in the Alaska Department of Fish and Games' report shows that, as of fall 2014, only 7 to 32 female Archipelago wolves remain.
That's 7 to 32 female wolves on a nearly 2,600 square mile island. This would be possibly 1 breeding wolf per 371.4 square miles. Even if they are able to reproduce at these reduced numbers, the risk of inbreeding is high, putting them at further risk of extinction due to the, soon to be, complete loss of genetic diversity, which can negatively affect the species in many ways, such as weakened immune systems [which are unable to fight off disease], skeletal deformities, and smaller litters with higher mortality.