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Board of Game Plays More Games: Alaska Finds New Excuse to Kill Wolves

March 12, 2008 | Wolves / Press Releases

Darien, Conn. "“ Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral today denounced the Alaska Board of Game's recent approval of aerial wolf control for the first time since the mid-1980s.

Feral stated, "Alaskans have allowed their bureaucracy to be taken over by extremists -- people who want to keep an air force to annihilate wolves and other natural predators. Alaska's bloody spectacles are a blight on the continent."

The game board plans to have state agents shooting wolves from helicopters before the caribou birth season in mid-May. The target area includes a handful of tiny villages (total population about 3,145) in the southern peninsula. This remote area in the Aleutian arc is also home to some 600 caribou, who may be hunted by wolves or bears, and whose newborns are sometimes eaten by eagles.

The justification for targeting the area's few dozen wolves? To give human hunters inside and outside the community a steady number of caribou to shoot.

Despite the obvious reality that hunting itself depletes the caribou population, that's what the state promotes.*

Rather than consider caribou conscious beings, the Board wishes to deem them the equivalents of vegetables. Referring to a two-year absence of caribou births, Cathie Harms, spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) complained to the Anchorage Daily News, "We've already lost two cow crops."

Priscilla Feral, whose advocacy group has sponsored wolf research in Alaska for 15 years, has successfully intervened in past killing plans. The group's latest challenge to Alaska's wolf control, in November 2006, awaits a judge's ruling.

Dr. Gordon C. Haber, an Alaska-based scientist, notes that predation of caribou by other animals typically regulates itself whenever numbers of caribou drop.

Haber stresses that shooting would neither address any biological emergencies nor achieve anything necessary for human survival. Targeting one group of natural predators would tend to generate more predation by others, Haber said.

Priscilla Feral observed, "The area's human residents have access to grains, vegetables and other food. And tourists who show up to stalk Alaska's animals can stay in a lodge on the Peninsula, even in the remote Bristol Bay area, and read a menu like that found in hotels anywhere. Wolves are eking out a living here and ought to be allowed to do that."

Feral said ecological science shows it's unnatural to expect large groups of caribou to stay in one spot. Caribou naturally move when grasses and other foods are scarce.

"The state's mean-spirited and deeply unpopular wolf-shooting forays must stop," Feral said.

"We call upon Alaskans to raise their collective voice now against the game board's latest chest-beating display of authority over animal life."

* Since the early 1980s, at least one technical report prepared for the Alaska Board of Game states the caribou in the Alaska Peninsula declined due to shooting by hunters as well as low births linked to poor range conditions and predation. See James A. Fall, et al., "Subsistence Use of the Southern Alaska Peninsula Caribou Herd." Technical Paper #191 for the Division of Subsistence of the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game (1990).

Comments

I so agree with Kathy Ryan. It never ceases to amaze that so little protection is done for our wildlife and our land. To kill the wolves, especially the way it is done, is so barbaric to me. They are God's beautiful creatures and should be treated with love and respect. I will not purchase anything from Alaska or Canada. I hope Sarah Palin never runs for election because she is a poor excuse for a human being that has no heart. Alaska is part of the USA and we should be able to vote down this horrible thing they want to do to the wolves. Since we have so little respect for each other it doesn't surprise me that there is no respect for our precious animals. I will pray for all those people who don't have any hearts.

Thanks so much for your support. True, it is a dastardly way to be put to death. It's like torture and death combined. But the death itself is wrong. Are there Alaskans and others willing to live with the presence of bears and wolves, to respect the ways and the interests of communities beyond human ones, willing to raise their voices and pens against this? To say we've all had more than enough of bureaucrats and politicians who kill to express themselves?

This is outrageous!! When will the human race finally learn to accept that it is possible to coexist with wild animals without interfering? The predators and their prey adapt to natural changes in their environments, they always have, but there is no reason to further add to their problems by hunting game like the caribou! I will never understand the logic in that...

Please stop this needless action. This is so barbaric. It saddens me when I know this is going on. There is no reason to take the life of such a beautiful creature.

Is there something that can be done? Is there a petition yet to stop killing the wolves? I am finding that I like animals more than people these days. [Blog editors' note: Petitions are ignored and a waste of time. FoA is exploring a legal challenge. Please send your protests to: Gov. Sarah Palin governor@alaska.gov Phone: 907-465-3500

I agree with sarah ,animals have never done anything to harm people intentionally ,unles they were being provoked in the first place. It really is people doing the harm here.

A copy of my e-mail to the Governor: "Dear Governor Palin: I understand that Alaska is a beautiful and wild place. Living in British Columbia I am your nearest southern 'neighbor,' as it were, and would love to take the short hop north to visit someday soon. However, I have just been made aware that the Alaska Board of Game has approved aerial gunning of wolf populations. I find this appalling. The rationale behind it - that the 'crop' of caribou is insufficient for hunting purposes - is equally disturbing. It seems utterly bizarre that we would need to cull predator populations, which are what typically keep prey populations healthy and in check. Why interfere? The people in Alaska who are presumably profiting off of this bloody spectacle [hunting - and culling as well] could shift to more ethical pursuits - such as non-invasive and ecological kinds of tourism. Which I understand is bringing quite a bit of profit to Alaska as it is. However, if wolves are being slaughtered, I'm afraid I will have to withhold my own tourism dollars from the region. I am hearing quite a few others propose a tourist boycott until your unfortunate decision is reversed. I will encourage my friends and family in BC to do so as well. Thank you for your consideration and prompt action. Sincerely, Julie Muir Victoria, British Columbia"

This is absolutley ricdulous.. I can't believe wolves are being shot for the purpose of human hunting. Don't people have something better to do with their time, or is it "man" needs to feel even more dominant about their breed? I wish their was something that we could do to protest and stop this!!! [Blog editors' note: True. Send your protests to Alaska's governor, whose address appears twice in earlier postings above. Many thanks. ]

They need to let the wolves live. They are beautiful and deserve to live.

this is ridiculous,how many times does this have to go to court.cant alaskas judicial system get it through the game commisions head to stop killing wolfs. maybe this time around we can ask the judge to tatto it on there foreheads to "LEAVE THE ANIMALS ALONE DUMMY". go find another way to be annoying.really, these people need to get a life,i mean that is just degrading to shoot a unarmed, defenseless animal. i will definitely be boycotting trips to alaska.maybe someday they will learn to respect wildlife instead of killing it. they should be honored to even be in the presence of a free living animal instead of having to go to the zoo to see them. didn't mean to ramble, but it just ticks me off when stupid people continue to do stupid things even after they recieved a court order, pitty you cant find a way to sue them. hit them in there wallets,maybe there brains might start functioning correctly.

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