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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 agree with Dave Scott; this woman should be punished for such vicious acts against wildlife. It is amazing to me that she has actually gotten away with such inhumane policies and actions. She clearly has no compassion, or any minute understanding of the natural processes of the countless animal populations on this earth, or plainly the circle of life. How anyone could have a clean conscience about shooting animals purely for sport and especially killing innocent babies is beyond me. In my opinion if someone does not have compassion for "lesser" beings, then they certainly cannot be expected to have compassion for fellow humans. I am so sorry for the deaths of those pups and all of the wolves, bears and other animals that have died needlessly and without dignity. [Blog editors' note: It has been said that retribution comes on Election Day.]

It's a shame that Sarah Palin is describing herself as a Pit bull. I guess that was better than a wolf so nobody would shoot her in the head.

I will never understand any person can be so cold and cruel. There is absolutely no reason for anything to be killed because of what they are. What type of person allows anything to be killed especially when they are totally helpless? Unless the animal is for consumption, there is no reason for this. I wonder if she goes out with them and watches the slaughter.She is inhumane and I do not trust her judgements for humans either. [Blog editors' note: There are vegetarians and vegetarian restaurants in Alaksa, and no animal needs to be bred or otherwise consumed for human survival. It's a culture replete with computers and all the other modern amenities.]

As a biologist I am very much aware of how prey and predator populations mirror each other. Without wolves and other predators to cull out the weakest moose and caribou, those populations will increase to the point that they are no longer sustainable themselves due to the fact that the available food supply will not be enough to sustain them. The weakened moose and caribou populations will be more susceptible to diseases and will not be able to survive other stresses such as severe weather situations. The moose and caribou populations will ultimately collapse on their own. These predator and prey relationships developed over thousands if not millions of years. It is only in the last few hundred years that we have interfered at such a great extent with wild populations so that we have hastened the extinction of so many species. With President Bush and those just like him, aka John McCain and Sara Palin, we are sure to destroy even more of the creatures here on earth and, perhaps, the human species as well. If we don't do this outright by the direct killing of animals, like the wolves in Alaska, or by the use of atomic weapons, we will cause wholesale extinctions by our continued dependence on fossil fuels and by our failure to address global warming. Right now, habitat loss is the most pressing threat and global climate change will destroy most of what is left. A few of us humans will, given the ability of any particular group to forcefully gain control of the available resources, have the ability to move if the climate changes drastically; unfortunately, plants can't pack up and move. How many years will it take to recreate the Amazon or the forests in Alaska? Will there be any place left where we could recreate them. Please think about the future of our planet and our species when you vote in November. If you don't vote, then your vote surely won't count.

For everyone who is shocked/appalled/angered by the Northern Exposure of dirty laundry in Mooseville, USA---PLEASE help to get the word out regarding Ms Palin's atrocious record with respect to wolves and other top-tier predators. Since mainstream media seems to have largely turned a blind eye to the situation (and thereby underestimated how fervently most folks feel about animal cruelty and abuse of wildlife), it is up to animal advocates to expose the facts. Try www.grizzlybay.org and www.akwildlife.org for more...

She's from Alaska She spits propaganda She says she's Catholic But her deeds make me sick She kills the innocent Kills 'em every instant We all now realize That she's been demonized That song was written by me.

...PALIN NEEDS TO GET A "BRAIN CHECK!" AND SHE WILL MAKE A TERRIBLE VICE PRESIDENT ...

I think all of the animal rights activists should stage a protest and let the public know just what this woman has done to animals, the cruelty and murder of the innocents. God made all creatures to be cared for by us. I am sickened by the thought of this person becoming VP. I hope she drops out. Seemingly she has no regard for animals or people who are different in any way than what she holds to be true. Who knows what she'll do as VP or possibly Pres, if something happens to McCain...withhold medical care?? I dont trust her one little bit. Our country has become stupified as far as the political scene goes, there is not enough brought out about this person.

If she is capable of this horrible act, what else is she capable of? Laura Lauricella

A nation is judged by the way they treat animals. I don't respect Sarah Palin.

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