ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska wildlife officials have rejected an effort to re-establish a ban on wolf kills near Denali National Park and Preserve.

The Alaska Board of Game on Friday unanimously rejected the emergency petition from three nonprofit organizations and seven individuals for the buffer zone to protect 20 to 30 wolves that are most viewed around Denali, reported the Alaska Dispatch News, an Anchorage newspaper.

Board members discussed why wolf pack numbers are so low. Conservation groups claimed eliminating the buffer zones in 2010 have contributed to the decline.

In testimony to the board on Friday, Alaska Board of Game director Bruce Dale said low numbers of moose and caribou were to blame for low wolf population levels.

He said an emergency petition must be of an “unforeseen, unexpected event that threatens a resource.”

One board member, Bob Mumford, said the situation didn't rise to an emergency level and voted against the petition even though he called the elimination of the buffer zone “regrettable.”

Denali's total wolf population is estimated about 50, far below the high estimate of 162 wolves in 1993, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

The board eliminated the buffer zone five years ago, re-legalizing wolf trapping and hunting on state lands adjacent to the park.

Since then, the board has rejected several emergency orders requested by advocates to re-establish the buffer zone.