Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Determinants of gray wolf (Canis lupus) sightings in Denali National Park

March 16, 2021

Wildlife viewing within protected areas is an increasingly popular recreational activity. Management agencies are often tasked with providing these opportunities, yet quantitative analyses of factors influencing wildlife sightings are lacking. We analyzed locations of GPS-collared wolves and wolf sightings from 2945 trips in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA, to provide a mechanistic understanding of how viewing opportunities are influenced by attributes of wolves and physical, biological, and harvest characteristics. We found that the presence of masking vegetation, den site proximity to the road, pack size, and presence of a wolf harvest closure adjacent to the park affected wolf sightings, and the influence of den proximity on sightings depended on harvest management. Wolf sightings increased with den site proximity to the road in years with a harvest closure adjacent to the park but not in the absence of the closure. The effect of the harvest closure on sightings was similar in magnitude to an increase in pack size by two wolves or a more than a two-fold decrease in masking vegetation. These findings were consistent across a 10-fold change in spatial resolution. Quantitative analysis of the factors influencing wildlife sightings provides valuable insight for agencies tasked with managing viewing opportunities. 

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Determinants of gray wolf (Canis lupus) sightings in Denali National Park
DOI 10.14430/arctic72208
Authors Bridget L. Borg, Stephen M. Arthur, Jeffrey A. Falke, Laura R. Prugh
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Arctic
Index ID 70227714
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Seattle

Related Content