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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 believe man has made enough tragic environmental misjudgements and decisions to curb every living thing for many years to come. There is no need to foster or catalyze any further destruction of plant and animal life in areas that clearly allow a species to survive and thrive. It would be illegal, irresponsible, and inhumane to apply horrific animal terrorist tactics to solve wildlife management situations.

I've been told that I worry about a lot of things that most people don't in their daily lives, and that's probably true. I'd probably be a much happier person if I didn't. But the reality is that some of these things bother me. They actually keep me up at night sometimes. A LOT. Some of these things are... the disparity between rich and poor, the environment, the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese, the fact that this country puts more money into war than education, and in this case, lack of respect for Animal Rights. We can blame the problems of our world on governments, the truth is our biggest enemy is apathy. As long as most people are not directly and immediately affected, they don't care enough to stand up for something.

I wish there was something we could sign or someone we can call to protest the killing of the Wolves! [Blog editors' note: Sound off to Gov. Sarah Palin, who, so far, supports the worst possible policies toward animals and the environment.] Gov. Sarah Palin governor@alaska.gov Phone 907-465-3500

What is amazing to me is that the human race can't get a handle on its own but finds the need to control other species. We can't even find ways to enforce cellphone bans when driving, underage drinking, speeding on our roadways. poverty and healthcare, child molesters, etc. but we have the time and energy to go and control other life forms that don't need us other than to help them in positive and humane ways. We should be focusing on how to live in harmony with all that inhabit this planet instead of killing off everything to control it or what annoys us. Those that hunt and kill always find an excuse to justify their cruelty. Get a handle on the human race which is by far more out of control, dangerous and the largest terrorist group of all before you start controling other life forms. Animals have just as much right to live on this planet as we do.

There is no justification for the aerial gunning of Alaska's wolves. I would never support Sarah Palin if she tries to run for vice president because she is too cold-hearted.

This type of "hunting" is no different than the despicable seal hunt that takes place in Canada every March. Just as I am boycotting all Canadian products, I will also boycott anything made in Alaska and will encourage all my friends to do likewise until this insanity stops!! And it MUST stop!! [Blog editors' note: $2 billion is spent each summer in Alaska by tourists, and some 970,000 tourists were cruise passengers in 2006. Tourists carry economic clout.]

Who are we to decide if these beautiful animals should live or die. There is absolutely no purpose in killing these loving wolves. They are God's creatures and should be treate4d with respect.

this is so unfair to the wolves people have worked so hard to bring them back from the endangered list and what not what can people do to help with this matter? [Blog editors' note: See Gov. Palin's contact information in an earlier blog message. Next, commit to a tourism boycott of Alaska. Then spread the word.]

I have and will continue to boycott everything Alaska until this and other animal abuse is halted. I have encouraged anyone who will listen to do the same. I am outraged that this issue of shooting wolves from helicopters continues to go to the courts, is court-ordered to stop, and then resurfaces again. Kinda makes you want to rent a plane and do some helicopter hunting....

Yet another attempt to annihilate the worlds creates. Nature has & always will take care of itself. We has humans have no right to interfere. We did not bring them here, we have no right to take them out of here. If we choose to live in their world, we need to accept it & not try to change it to our liking.

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