Interior Alaskan Wolf: Profile and Information

Interior Alaskan Wolf

The Interior Alaskan wolf (Canis lupus pambasileus), also known as Yukon wolf in Canada and Interior Alaskan wolf in the United States, is a subspecies of the grey wolf.

It occurs in adjacent parts of Northwest Territories and British Columbia.

This subspecies is native to Yukon and Interior Alaska.

Scientific classification

SpeciesC. lupus
SubspeciesC. l. pambasileus


The wolf has a height of 33.5 in (85 cm), with an average male weight of 124 lb (56.3 kg) and for females 85 lb (38.5 kg). In Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, female wolves average 97 lb (44 kg) and males 111 lb (56.3 kg).

In Denali National Park and Preserve, the average weight of male wolves is 105 lb (52.6 kg). The most common colour for this subspecies is tan to tawny grey, but can also range from black to white.


The average lifespan of an Interior Alaskan wolf is 10 years, with 12 years being the oldest. The average pack size is 7 – 9 wolves. A pack may consist of a mated pair and their offspring. The mated pair is the only one allowed to breed.

A wolf that deserts his pack may travel up to 310.7 mi (500 km) to breed. Wolves begin to breed as young as one year old, and the average litter size is 4 to 6 pups.


A wolf’s diet varies by region – moose is the primary prey in southern Yukon, then boreal woodland and Dall sheep comes next.

In the North Slope, barren-ground caribou is the primary prey. When hunting a herd of moose, wolves target and kill old moose and calves when fleeing. A pack kills a moose every 5 – 6 days to eat for 2 – 3 days.

When moose and caribou are not available, dall sheep become the main prey in Kluane Game Sanctuary and National Park.

Habitat and distribution

This wolf is endemic to the Yukon, Canada save for the tundra region of the Arctic Coast and the interior of Alaska, United States. Yukon wolves’ main habitats are alpine, boreal forests, Arctic tundra, and subalpine.

Apart from the wolves in Kluane National Park, the total population of Canadian Yukon wolves is estimated to be 5,000.

The population density is said to depend on prey, with the least dense population being in Northern Yukon where there are 3 wolves per 386.1 sq mi (1000 square kilometers). The densest population is located in Teslin, Yukon, Canada, with 9 wolves per 386.1 sq mi (1000 square kilometers).

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