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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

hi! I found your site through truveo.com, another animal site and lots of videos of the animals. it is great that you guys protect these animals and look after them and allow pictures and videos on your site for free. I live in Nova Scotia, and we only have a couple of parks with some animals in it, but, we don't have a zoo in the city of halifax, which is our capitol city. too bad! I only get there a couple of times in the summertime, but, would go to see the zoo if there was one. keep up the good work and thanks for letting see pictures and videos etc, for free on your site. linda blackburn blair

This woman is dangerous for our country. It sickens me to think that she may be a position of incredible power where she will do even more damage. We ALL must make sure this does not come to fruition. I started an animal rescue foundation and every time I think I've seen and heard it all I just shake my head with amazement. Her "Right to Life" stance is such crap when she turns her back on the innocent lives of newborn pups. What a hypocrite.

Palin Persecutes Polar Bears and More Wildlife . . . (This should be widely circulated.) The Wikipedia says: “On January 5, 2008, the New York Times published an op-ed by Palin, presenting her view that the polar bear should not be placed on the endangered species list. In May 2008, Palin objected to the decision of Dirk Kempthorne, the Republican United States Secretary of the Interior, to list polar bears federally as an endangered species, saying this move was premature and was not the appropriate management tool for their welfare; the State of Alaska filed a lawsuit to stop the listing amid fears that it would hurt oil and gas development in the bears' habitat off Alaska's northern and northwestern coasts. Palin also disagrees with strengthening the protection status of the beluga whales in Cook Inlet, Alaska, where oil and gas development has been proposed. In 2007, Palin supported the Alaska Department of Fish and Game policy allowing Alaska state biologists to hunt wolves from helicopters as part of a predator control program intended to increase moose populations. The program was criticized by Defenders of Wildlife and predator control opponents, and prompted California State Representative George Miller to introduce a federal bill (H.R. 3663) seeking to make the practice illegal. In March 2008, a federal judge in Alaska upheld the practice of hunting wolves from the air, though limited its extent. On August 26, 2008, Alaskans voted against ending the state's predator control program. Palin has strongly promoted oil and natural gas resource development in Alaska, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), where such development has been the subject of a national debate.”

1,500 people rallied in Anchorage yesterday to oppose Sarah Palin's nomination, and numbers included advocates for both bears and wolves. See the article in today's Anchorage Daily News: http://www.adn.com/sarah-palin/story/525510.html There's also a front page article in Sunday's New York Times, which includes an interview with Rick Steiner, a Univ. of Alaska professor, who has proof of Palin's dishonest scheme which claimed scientists had found no ill effects of global warming on polar bears. Palin sued the federal government to block the endangered listing for polar bears. In truth, "state scientists had agreed that bears were in danger, records showed." And, as Bob Herbert quipped in his NY Times column today, "She's Not Ready," -- "For those who haven't noticed, we're electing a president and vice president, not selecting a winner on 'American Idol.' "

On utube there are disturbing videos of aerial shooting of wolves.

Let's face it. Palin hates nature. She has tried, through her policy positions, to kill off wolves, whales, polar bears, and all types of wildlife in ANWR. She has also stated over and over that she does not believe that man is the cause of global warming. I guess she blames that on nature. So, you see, her logic is sound. Nature is the cause of global warming; therefore, we must kill nature. Then we will be saved from global warming. I wonder how her "borm again" religious views play into this illogical mess.

i just my mail and i just can not belive what i just read this women is just insane to order the killing of those wolf pups or any other animal how can she help run this country when she acts so horrible to animals

Ms. Palin is simply taking the most ignorant and easiest approach to the wolf problem. What if others would take the most ignorant and easiest way to rid the world of unfortunate people with Downs?

I don't think someone as cold-hearted and cruel as Sarah Palin would make a very good vice-president.

Well, she just put the nail in her own coffin! She would never get my vote for this issue alone.

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