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Aerial wolf control effort begins

December 14, 2005 | Wolves
by TIM MOWRY, published in Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Despite howls of protest from Outside animal-rights groups and a grass-roots campaign to outlaw same-day airborne hunting of wolves, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is going ahead with its controversial effort to produce more moose and caribou for hunters.

The state would like 400 wolves killed this winter, the third year in a row that hunters armed with special permits can shoot wolves from the air or land.

So far, only six wolves have been killed this winter in areas targeted for lethal wolf control, but that number will climb as more pilots take to the air and the amount of daylight and snow increases to make tracking wolves easier, Fish and Game spokeswoman Cathie Harms said.

The state recently issued more than 100 permits to pilots who applied to participate in the program. Pilots, most of whom have "gunners" flying with them, must be approved by the state.

Alaska is home to the largest remaining population of gray wolves in the United States. State biologists estimate some 7,000 to 11,000 wolves roam the state.

More than 400 wolves have been killed since the state began issuing permits to aerial shooters two years ago to reduce wolf populations in specific "intensive management" areas, including a reported harvest of 277 wolves last year...

Priscilla Feral, executive director of Friends of Animals, the animal-rights organization based in Darien, Conn., that has protested Alaska's predator control program by promoting a tourism boycott, is still fighting to stop the state from killing wolves.

While the group is not organizing the "howl-ins" the way it has the past two years, Feral said the group has a suit pending against the state to get the program stopped based on lack of information.

"We're hoping to have the program declared illegal and halted," Feral said. "We're just waiting to hear the judge's ruling to see whether or not we have a trial. We really think this is going to be decided in court."

There's a chance it could be decided by Alaska voters at the ballot box, too.

To read the full article, click here.

Comments

My question is...do the Alaskan PEOPLE really feel they need the wolves destroyed? Or is the Alaskan government simply doing it to keep hunters coming in. Wolves do not damage a herd enough to starve the population of Alaska. If they did, the entire Native American population (in all of the United States) would have died out long before Europeans ever landed here. And in this wonderful day of communication and technology those people are not going to starve to death if the herds are thinned. They can bring food in from other states, just like nearly every other state in the nation does. So tell me, if they kill all of the predators and the herds aren't thinned enough? They get old, they eat all of their available food supply, they get sickm and the ecosytem become unbalanced. Not an ideal situation for the Alaskan population either...The same thing happened in Yellowstone, and if you do any research on it, you will find that since the wolves were reintroduced the herds themselves are actually far better off because they are not overpopulating and overgrazing anymore. The ecosystem there has begun to balance out. Nature invented predators for a reason. Killing hundreds of wolves is ridiculous. It just as well be counted as a form of genocide. Completely unnecessary.

I think that this entire situation is a shame. I love most animals, but do eat meat & am pro-choice. I have a tank full of fish, 3 cats, 1 dog & a conure. I paid to have my rat euthanized last year. My BIGGEST dream is too win the lottery & buy the largest chunk of land i can find to make a wolf haven, sanctuary, whatever you would call a place where they would have all the land, and no one would be permitted out there. (I have actually promised god i would do this IF i ever win the lottery ;0) My opinion may not mean much to some, but here it is anyway. IF they were running out of food & had to kill wolves for humans to eat & survive - that would be the only morally right reason to approve shooting from the air. Alaska is not that destitute, I'm sure. If the moose and caribou become endangered, (which they could be - im not sure)put them on the endangered list, since i dont think they are - and it seems the only reason they are doing it is to please the hunters - they should take other actions to try to please everybody, but not at the sake of the wolves. There is a hunting place here where they release some kind of birds every year - FOR the hunters. They are breeding them in captivity, and then doing this for the pleasure the hunters get from hunting them - and of course the state gets the cash for the permits. Why cant this be done there in alaska? I know its a wrong, but if they are killing the moose & caribou ANYWAY, why not just breed them & release them for hunting pyrposes? There must be somewhere that can take these displaced wolves, and that should keep Alaska happy if in fact they do just want them gone b/c of animal control. I saw a show on animal planet where they caught some fish & removed all of its egg sacs.. Why can't someone go in there & preform mass surgery on the wolves? Think i will go the animal planet website & write to them. Maybe if we ALL do, they will make a show which is fine as long as it promotes help & awareness..

I believe in this modern day society of ours, people do not need to kill animals for survival. Back in the last century, it was accepted, bcause people didn't know any better. Today there are numberous ways people can be educated in healthy diets. Animals have every right to survive. It is us who have intruded into their lives. Save the Wolf and all other creatures. Thank You.

I agree completly with you Safira, I am young and don't completly have a grasp on all of the information that is going on now but I know enough. This is unnecesssary it's like saying Nevada depends on deer for a living or like any other state has to depend on something. Alaska can have food brought to them, every other state in the U.S does that so really I see no difference. It SHOULD be concidered a form of genocide, it's just as bad. :(

I think that people need to read the book "Never Cry Wolf." I do not remember who wrote it, but he spent a lot of time living in a tent near a pack of wolves because he was supposed to be determining the threat to livestock. (He found no threat, by the way). Anyway, he writes about these wolves. You would be amazed at some of the human qualities they portrayed. Even to the point were wolves from another pack would come and actually visit a particular wolf. They would come to the den, play and interact for twenty minutes or so, and then leave, heading back to their own pack. Amazing. And they just want to kill them all.

Watched something on hunting last night via reputable news channel. It was interesting that they did say they need to get younger people( CHILDREN) involved to increase hunters. What i found interesting was, they said conservation groups etc depend on hunters to make them money from their permits. No hunters means no permits means no money for these groups . Its all a bunch of dirty politics at the expense of the animals. All of this killing does not have to be done. ITS ALL ABOUT MONEY!!! As for as I am concerned all the excuses in the world from Canada (clubbing of baby seals etc) to Alaska(wolves) to New Jersey(bears etc)) to CT (devils Den deer etc) and wherever else, is all about money, nothing to do with conservation. This Program sure pointed that out extremely well!! So anyone who allows that animals should be killed anywhere is playing the political $$$$ game at the innocent animals expense. These groups are "feeding" the hunters.

Gee Mac, First, if you had a clue what you were talking about, you'd know that if the alpha male dies - for whatever reason, another one moves up to take his place. The Inuit people have lived in harmony with the wolves, polar bears and all the other creatures/predators of the Alaskan wilderness for hundreds of years. They still rely on the moose, caribou, seals etc. to sustain life in their cultures still today. Like it or not, man is (1) an omnivore - eating both meat AND potatoes,(2) a predator - we have provided ourselves with that meat since the beginning of time. I don't see that changing anytime soon. Society has become sheltered in the sense that we pick up our pork chops and hamburger at the grocery store on the way home from work, not uctually stopping to think about where it came from or the methods used to get it there. If you dig deep enough to get the TRUE FACTS on conservation, not the sugar coated BS that the bleeding hearts want you to see, you'll find that hunters, their organizations and their generated revenue have restored americas wildlife to the healthy populations they are now, as compared to a mere 50 years ago. Yes, healthy populations - deer, turkeys, moose, elk, caribou, BEARS, mountain lions, they are all doing VERY well, despite what garbage is being said about them and their "demise." Before engaging your mouths and pens, engage your brains, do your homework and come back with the FACTS on conservation, and an intelligent conversation can be possible. Until then "M" " I think I hit a nerve." Jim Blog editors' note: The facts on conservation include the reality that more than half of the contiguous United States is now taken over by animal agribusiness, meaning that the biodiversity is ruined. The facts include the reality that our government kills predators in official, tax-funded schemes and then claims nature is out of balance and we have to kill more animals. On to the omnivore's diet, and the facts from dieticians, who now widely accept that vegetarianism meets all known nutrient needs and offers potential health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, obesity, kidney failure, hardening of the arteries, strokes, elevated cholesterol levels or blood pressure; hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and some forms of cancer. Additionally, studies indicate that a vegetarian mother’s breast milk has comparatively low levels of pesticide. Feel free to return and request more facts at any time. We don't shy away from the facts.

[Blog editors' note: And now comes an argument that individual wolves, at least the males, are replaceable--sort of like printer cartridges. We hope that a copy of this indeed went to the Sierra Club. Perhaps that group will see the importance of countering such empty views in Alaska.] No wonder you zealots are losing the battle. If ignorance is bliss, this is the most blissful organization ever. You folks have little clue what goes on out in the real world. You feast on the inaccurate information supplied to you by your "organizations" and the one sided garbage supplied by the media, and you're ready to CHANGE THE WORLD. NEWSFLASH - Kids have been taught to hunt since the beginning of time. MAN IS A PREDATOR. Outdoorsman revenue has saved species, after species of animals that were once endangered for many various reasons, including overhunting. It was us outdoorsmen who established and funded the endangered species acts. Don't buy it? Look it up, don't just take the words of fools as the gospel. If the alpha male is killed by a human or a wolf from another pack(it happens quite often, it's called, get this, natures means of natural selection) then another wolf moves up to become the alpha. The whole pack doesn't die, Mac. Alan, it was acceptable in the last century as well as the hundreds before that, because if you didn't, you died. Pretty simple concept, huh? Do the homework before writing the essay, it'll make it sound as though you DO know what you're talking about. Jimmy Twoeagles Cc: Sierra Club To the editors- I know the truth hurts sometimes, but sometimes it needs to be thrown in there just to shake things up.

No NO, This is NOT to say that alpha wolves are a "replaceable commodity", and comparing them to a printer cartridge are YOUR own words, not mine. THIS sort of mentality is what seperates you and I. I was rebutting the remarks made by the person commenting that if and when an alpha male is culled, if you will, by man or nature, the rest of the pack would parish. Not even close to true. You should EDUCATE your readers, and arm them with the FACTS. Only then can they be of value to your cause. The Sierra has a blast with comments like that. Animal agribusiness? Please. The only negative effects man has had on biodiversity is the urban sprawl and encroachment on the land and ecosystem.Wildlife diversity and populations have grown exponentially since the turn of the twentieth century. Now the ideas you put forth about our fine government and the effects THEY have had on the predators(primarily the issue of wolves)is undisputable, and sad, at best. See, we can share a common ground. As for the vegetarians out there, all the power to you. If that is the lifestyle that fits you best, I wish you nothing but health, prosperity, and happiness. I didn't claw my way to the to top of the food chain to become a vegetarian. It's not for me. And I agree that a large percentage of todays health problems could be directly related to commercial meat and meat products. The additives, feeds, medicines, etc., used in todays markets(all the way down to potato chips, canned vegetables, dairy products) have created health issues, indeed. It has been proven time and again that wild game meats are void of 95% of these risks you mention here and have several other health benefits.People of native american heritage, my people, have lived by the laws of nature for centuries. Longevity is not a birthright, rather, it is determined by lifestyle. Most of the people in our society live to be VERY old, largely attributed to their diet. Of which a good part of it IS vegetable, and the rest of it being wild game. If we're going to get into the facts, let's not sugar coat them and only state the facts we want our loyal followers to hear. By the way, do you eat eggs? Jimmy Twoeagles Jimmy, you are indeed calling the alpha wolves replaceable, and as others here have already posted, what happens to a leading wolf can affect the entire group. Even if the group does not die, the entire group is put in danger. This can indeed result in their deaths, particularly as they circle and retrace their tracks, looking in vain for the one they've lost. You might like to pick up a copy of the book Welfare Ranching; in fact, its chapters are available through an internet search for free. Urban sprawl is minor compared to the encroachment of agribusiness, Jimmy. Not that we're suggesting more sprawl, of course. We try to be frugal about our use of fuels, packaging, and so forth, choosing products that are as easy on the ecology as possible, and supporting fair trade and organic cultivation. You might have seen some of our other articles on this site about these issues; we do take the point seriously.You say that you didn't claw your way to the to top of the food chain to become a vegetarian. You seem to have some anxiety about the risk other animals pose to you. Perhaps you fear they will eat you if you don't eat them first? This was a common fear well over ten thousand years ago. Before humans began systematically dominating other animals, did you know our ancestors were the prey of lions and leopards? Did you know that the Seventh-Day Adventists, many of whom are vegetarians, significantly outlive the general population? Interesting, don't you think? This blog editor does not eat eggs, no. No need to do that, and harass all the birds, and a vegetarian diet means no extra cholesterol -- only the cholesterol that our bodies naturally produce. Thanks again for writing in.

Since 1993, Friends of Animals has sponsored Gordon Haber's wolf research in Alaska. Haber respects the wolves he studies. He has dedicated his life's work to opposing the hideous wolf persecutions that persist in Alaska out of ignorance, hate, and the irrational desire by some to dominate wolves because they dare to eke out a living in Alaska's wilderness. Change is inevitable, but meanwhile, we're devoted to opposing aerial wolf- shooting schemes in every forum, and at every opportunity. The 100 aerial wolf hunters in Alaska who were rewarded with wolf-killng permits are a spoiled, well-heeled minority whose savage pursuits will eventually end. It is hoped that comes before Gov. Murkowski is ushered out of office. Priscilla Feral Friends of Animals

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