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Vicious: Sarah Palin's War on Wolves

September 11, 2008 | Wolves / Alaska Boycott

by Marybeth Holleman
Anchorage, Alaska

This past June, on a cool morning in southwest Alaska, fourteen wolf pups were pulled from their dens and shot in the head, one by one, by state biologists sanctioned by Governor Sarah Palin. At a month old, these pups had opened their eyes and ears less than two weeks earlier. They had ventured from the dark safety of the den once or twice. They had grown into rolling, tumbling, play-fighting puppies for whom their only care was, when would they next get to nurse?

They still depended entirely on their parents and their packs for food, shelter, protection. But every single adult member of their packs had already been gunned down from above by the Alaska state workers who shot them. These pups did nothing to deserve such a malicious early end to life other than to be born a wolf in Alaska in the era of Sarah Palin.

To most Americans in this day and age, this is atrocious. But to those of us who have watched Sarah Palin at work for the past two years, it's not at all surprising. As Governor, Palin has expanded Alaska's aerial hunting further and faster than any predecessor, since anything seen since territorial days, when all predators were targeted for extermination as worthless vermin.

I've lived in Alaska for nearly 25 years, long enough to see the on-again off-again cycles of predator control. But never has the killing of wolves and bears in order to inflate the numbers of moose and caribou been so widespread and mean-spirited as under Palin's reign.

Under Palin, private citizens kill wolves from planes under the guise of predator control. They run the wolves to exhaustion, and then shoot them. Under Palin, for the first time in 20 years, wolves are also gunned down from state-chartered helicopters. Palin authorized $400,000 in state funds for advertising to persuade Alaskans to vote against a ballot initiative that would have curtailed aerial hunting. Her propaganda was successful; the ballot measure failed.

Under Palin, for the first time since Alaska's statehood in 1958, it's legal to do land-and-shoot killing of bears and their cubs. Under Palin, predator control has spread from one to five regions of Alaska, to over 60,000 square miles, more than at any time since statehood. Nearly 800 wolves have been shot from planes, and some 2,000 are killed every year by other methods. And that's just the reported deaths. Palin even went so far last year as to put a bounty on wolves-she wanted to pay $150 for a foreleg of each dead wolf. Thanks to Friends of Animals, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, and Defenders of Wildlife, her wolf bounty was ruled illegal by the courts.

Wildlife scientists from around the country are dismayed at Palin's predator program, noting it doesn't meet the standards recommended by the U.S. National Research Council to justify, implement, monitor, and evaluate. Last year, 172 scientists wrote to Palin, warning her that if she did reach the "unsustainable historically high" moose and caribou numbers she sought, it would ecologically backfire in a huge way: not only would she put at risk the long-term health of Alaska's wolves, but of the very moose and caribou she sought to increase.

Palin would have the rest of Americans believe that this massive slaughter is acceptable, indeed necessary. She points to fifty years of statehood in which wolves have not become extinct. But the extent of the kill now far surpasses anything we've ever seen.

Even many Alaska hunters have grown outraged over Palin's out-of-control wolf control. Most recently, she's tried to give even more power to the Board of Game-the one that she appoints. This, wrote Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, would give her Board "more leeway without any scientific input to do whatever the hell they basically wanted." This program has been a true black eye for all hunters in Alaska, and for our state.
Contrary to what Palin would have Americans believe, only 14 percent of Alaskans hunt. Of those, a small percentage are true subsistence hunters. Palin wants wolves and bears scraped from the landscape so it's easier for urban hunters to get their kill in a weekend.

Don't let her fool you: Wasilla has just as many big-box and fast-food stores as any place in America, and just as many opportunities to make money to buy food. Alaskans haven't paid income tax for decades, and instead get over $1000 a year-for every man, woman, and child-in oil dividends. It's not economic necessity that drives the killing of wolves.

During Alaska's gubernatorial debates, Palin spoke with such passionate hatred about the need to kill wolves and bears that it sounded like we were thrown back into the dark ages of wildlife management, when bounties were paid for the feet of bald eagles, the fins of seals and sea lions, the skins of fox, coyote, wolf, and bear. Yes: bald eagles. They were blamed for eating too many salmon.

I was raised Catholic. I learned early on that if someone persecutes one group that's different from them, they also persecute others who are "different." It has taken the national media spotlight and her vicious statements on national stage to show Alaskans what we didn't know when Palin ran for Governor-to expose her disdain not only for non-human life, but also for those of different races, nationalities, and religions.

As a Catholic, I also learned that we have a responsibility to all living things. Not just human life, but all life. Which is, as we all now know, inextricably linked to all that we need in order to survive. Food, air, water, shelter. Safety. All that those wolf pups wanted from life. And all that was taken from them.

Comments

I am appalled by this! We all have rights, including the animals amongst us. They are beautiful animals and she didn't even give them a chance to run. How would she like to be stalked and killed like that?? She will not get my vote.

They are only God's living creatures. How would if someone came to your home an did what they did to those pups an family. Know one would of liked it an, JUST LEAVE NATURE ALONE!!!!!! They are not hurting no one either. THEY ARE SO BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. THEY ARE LIVING THINGS JUST LIKE US.

This woman shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the White House. I imagine she has the NRA's full support...she's going to upset the balance of nature in Alaska and there will be consequences. They say she makes impulsive decisions and then acts like a pitbull...and pitbull is her description of herself...that's a frightening thought considering the position she is aspiring to assume. Please America, wise up, cast your vote for anyone other than McCain/Palin. [Blog editors' note: In fairness, Palin's conduct disparages pit bulls since they're individuals and some are sweet animals. ]

I have been receiving a ton of emails from animal rights groups about Palin and her values and beliefs. I do have the same beliefs as the Republican party but will not be voting for McCain because of his VP choice. I strongly believe in saving our animals from cruelty and extinction and I am scared to death all the backlash we'll have to face and what information will be kept private until it's too late. Palin wants to dig for oil in a protected area in Alaska. This is insane! I wrote to Senator Durbin who said digging offshore will only produce a 30 cent break a gallon to consumers. So how is that even logical? Polar Bears are on the brink of extinction not to mention all the ecological factors involved, less food and shorter winters. Why would someone even think about digging in their habitat and causing them to relocate, or abandon their cubs. Wolves and Bears are so important to our world and I really had utmost respect for Alaska keeping nature and human life in balance. I feel blindsighted at all of this information. She will have to answer for her choices, and I don't know how she sleeps at night. Cruelty is wrong, playing God isn't her place.

What she is doing can't be even labeled as killing for sport, it's just murder. She seems like a very heartless person. As a black person I get the feeling that she won't be sympathetic to anyone of a different race, nationalty or religion.

Sarah Palin is a heartless killer of the innocent...this alone is enough to consider that the character of this woman is despicable. Her actions against the wildlife of Alaska depicts an evil nature that cannot be trusted. To consider her for a position a heart beat away from being the President of the United States would be a grave and dangerous decision.

I would NOT vote for someone inhumane cruel heartless that is you sarah palin.

Being an animal activist that prays for the humane treatment of all animals, wild or domestic, this is the most brutal senseless act against innocence I could possibly imagine. My thoughts are - if so little regard is given to the wild and the wilderness that they inhabit, how much regard will we, the humans and our habitat be given. Like most, I look at how people treat and react with animals, children and the elderly. This is not a good impression to have about someone who is proposing to be our next Vice President. I have learned that you can not change how someone is only that you can change how YOU react to that person; I am concerned that Ms. Palin's disregard for our natural resources, wildlife and the wilderness will put our country into a downward ecological spiral that we will not be able to recover from ..... We must as Americans take a good long pause here and examine our values and see is she is good for our country, our future. I say no; and she will not get my vote.

I had a WOLF/HUSKY for 3 years. She was the kindest, most loyal pet I've ever had!

This is just wrong. That is not how the circle of life works. She is killing innocent animals. I will not vote for her is she can be that cruel. Wolves are beautiful animals and should not be treated this way.

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