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Animal rights group asks for immediate end to wolf kill program

January 29, 2006 | Wolves
Associated Press / January 29, 2006

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The court battle over Alaska's aerial wolf-killing program continued Friday with an animal rights group requesting that planes with pilots and gunner teams stay grounded.

Friends of Animals, the group that has been waging a more than two-year court fight against the predator control program, filed a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction late Friday afternoon - one day after the state approved emergency regulations to resuscitate the program.

The state has said permits were being reissued and the program could be up and running by as early as this weekend.

Jim Reeves, lawyer for Friends of Animals and seven Alaska plaintiffs, said the request to halt the program was made to Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason in response to what he described as a "complete rewrite of the predator control program" by the board.

"We contend there is no emergency "¦ that would justify adopting 77 pages of brand new regulations establishing new wolf predator plans in five areas of the state, doubling or even tripling some areas with no public participation,"
Reeves said.

Reeves said he would call the judge on Monday to request a hearing as soon as possible.

Matt Robus, the director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, said the revision was lengthy to satisfy the judge's request for more detail in the plan. He said the board did not make any substantive changes to the program and actually reduced two of the areas. "The specific objectives of the plan are the same," he said.

The board met in emergency session so as not to disrupt the program, he said.

"The ruling came down at the time of year when the permitees are going to be most effective," Robus said.

The wolf-killing program was begun in 2003 in the McGrath area, an Interior town of about 470 residents that is off the road system and about 300 air miles from the nearest supermarket. Residents there had long-complained that wolves and bears were eating too many moose calves, leaving them with too few to hunt.

Since then, the program has been expanded and now operates in five areas of Alaska. More than 400 wolves have been killed under the program so far and the state has set a goal of another 400 for this winter. The best time to track and kill wolves is in the next few months.

Last week, the state pulled permits to more than 150 pilot and gunner teams following Gleason's finding that the program was illegal. Among the judge's concerns were the game board's failure to provide required justification for the program and inadequate explanation for why less lethal means to reduce wolf numbers would not work. She also questioned how the board set differing levels for reducing wolf numbers.

The state began the process of reissuing permits after the game board, faced with the judge's ruling, revised the regulations on Wednesday.

Friends of Animals has been successful before in getting a temporary restraining order from Gleason. In November 2003, Gleason granted the request, which shut down the program for about 10 days, only later to refuse to put a longer stop to it.

In the latest court skirmish, Gleason found after reviewing 2,000 pages supplied by the state that the program was illegal.

"I think it is scandalous," said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, when asked about the board's actions to reactivate the program. "The permits were recalled. They can't be reissued... The wolf control program was declared illegal."

Comments

boy,these people are persistent.the majarity of alaskins voted against the hunt,TWICE.who runs that government,barney phiff.even mayberry with just 2 cops were able to lock up there idiots.what part off NO,IT IS ILLEGAL dont they understand,tattoo it to there foreheads,it might sink in.an to the people whineing about the wolf and bears eating all the moose,guess what,you live in bear and wolf country,that means there are bear and wolf there.they didn't come to you,you came to them,and if you don't like there lifestyle,MOVE. you can come back to the city where you can be shot at and mugged, then maybe you will give these animals the respect they deserve after you go through what your putting them through.

i cant see what the difference is....kill the wolves so man can go and hunt?....the wolves do it for food...man does it for a trophy and bragging rights....let the wolves live they are a much needed part of our food chain....less man,less destruction of the world...and the animals...let them live !!!

Having read ADN this morning...only to find they will now add Bears to the Wolf equation... I am back to the Boycott!!! Of course, Augustine should keep somebody grounded. This is SOOOO typical...but Bless the Legal Team @ Friends Of Animals. We can only keep going... R. Coyote

::First, I need to say that I am "not claiming" to be "ANY" kind of so called "EXPERT" in this(game & wildlife)area. I don't have any degrees in this area so these comments are just my opinion, and don't reflect anything on any persons or organizations.:: Common sense here. Unless someone has calculated the outcome (Highly doubtful,if they have I'd be suprised if they are close to the "actual" outcome). Question 1: Are we(supporters) working with avid hunters controlling the ya or na of this situation? If yes, then that makes fighting it even harder. Question 2: Are we(supporters) working with people that need to live off the land? Yet another possible drawback. (Good points and Bad Points) Question 3: Can we(supporters)work efficiently with parties that want to save the animals at any costs, ultimately possibly costing the lives of those that live off the land? Probably not. We almost need Nuetral parties to handle this.(And how do you find that?) My take is this: eliminate the predator, the prey multiplies. Correct? I thought so. Not even common sense. Humm, sounds like the prey animals will get to the point where they will have to be controlled. (I.E. deer problems?) So then they will have to control them as well. What happens when they have to "re-introduce" "BOTH" species into the subject areas for some kind of eco-system stabilization? That may be the ultimate result. I don't know. (We could just beat our head against a wall...) If that happens, that tells me that they were not accounting for future ramifications. A little bit of thinking now may save a lot of thinking later. Imagine for just one minute....leaving them alone...What were they doing before we(the invading people) moved into their domain? Thank you for allowing me to express my thoughts and opinions. B

This is so sad. Its too bad the judge doesn't realize that it was the courts that started all of this killing of the wolves. They where the ones that screwed up the eco system. Once man gets involved trying to 'even out' the predetor vs pray, things get screwed up. There will be over grazing and less land around when the moose, deer or elk start to over populate. Then of course it will lead to the killing of those and trying to bring back the wolf population. Why can't humans just leave nature alone...it was doing well before we showed up.

Boy, I just have to ventilate on this issue. It seems these folks just never back off. The wolf shooting from planes was settled a while back and now IT'S BACK. Just what does it take to get folks up there to come back to reality. This reminds me of the buffalo hunting days when hunters came out west to gun down bison from railroad cars. I have just learned that the plane gunners have to PAY $4000 to the wildlife people for a permit to shoot from Piper cubs. It's like this is a big thrill and people will pay for the chance to shoot from the air. The argument that they want to relieve predation pressure on moose just makes me sick. Where do these people get the right to play god of the ecosystem. Why can't the wildlife in Alaska just have the right to exist apart from someone's desire to control. Wolves are a big part of the balance of that system. Humans once more want to bend nature to their ends. Let's boycot, sign petitions and raise hell until this barbaric practice comes to an end, hopefully forever. Keep up the good work and thanks for allowing my rant.

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