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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

What right did Palin have, Governor or not to slaughter these beautiful creatures that only feed on the weak.

I detest hunting of any kind, especially the phomy "wildlife management" kind. A woman hunter is paticulary abhorent to me. We women give life, not take it away. It is also significant that the concentration camp killers were all either butchers or hunters. The more animals they kill, the easier it is to kill humans. Palin is dangerous and a threat. She is a disgrace to humanity, women and America. WHATEVER was McCain thinking?!

Taking on big oil my butt - that's who financed her gov. campaign and probably this one as well. This is NOT political, it's animal abuse. She says she is Pro Life.........duh, not to animals. I am an independent, never been interested in politics (my bad) until the day I saw the headlines about Gov. Palin killing innocent wolves and bears. Today, I became an activist.

I have seen pictures of Sarah Palin with her young children and shot and killed animals in the same picture. She is a woman who says she is a Christian, and I think that some of what she says she sounds like one, but then there are many other things she says that are untrue in her speeches and this senseless killing is a tragedy.

My 11-year-old daughter has been asking me about the candidates since they're beginning to talk about the election in her class. Last night on our way back from soccer I told her about Sarah Palin and explained to her how aerial hunting of wolves works and the subsequent killing of the cubs. She was stunned and horrified and vowed to take that information back to share with her classmates. When we got home she turned on Animal Planet which had the show "Natural World: Caribou and Wolves" and we were able to discuss how wolves prey on the weak and injured caribou where hunters kill the healthy animals. She's an Animal Planet junkie so she's very aware of the reality of predators as well as human capacity for cruelty. You can bet that she will never give her support to John McCain and will campaign vigorously in her elementary school against him. I hope some of those kids take that information and passion back to their parents. I wonder how any parent could look their child in the eyes and explain how they could support Sarah Palin.

This is repulsive. I can't imagine anyone who is for the killing of innocent animals running this country. The thought of this is really pretty sick.

WOW, sarah p... it is amazing how you choose who keeps their babies, I HAD TO HAVE A LONG CONVERSATION WITH MY 14 YR OLD ABOUT TEENAGE PREGNANCY.... ITS NOT O.K.. I FIND THIS SUBJECT, ABOUT THE WOLVES HORRIFYING I'M NEVER GOING TO VOTE FOR SOMEONE WHO TALKS OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF HER MOUTH.. P.S. PLEASE STOP PARADING YOUR DAUGHTER AROUND LIKE SHE'S A HERO.

Disgusting....anyone who kills innocent, helpless animals has a real problem..I can't trust someone who would slaughter a living precious animal....It makes me sick!! and just think she could potentially be the prez of the US...shame on Palin.

Palin is the worse thing to happen to this country in ages. We are trying to stop wildlife killing/hunting/ and get rid of guns. She is all for it and is so proud of her kill!! I hope she falls and falls hard. She knows nothing except killing. I HOPE SHE IS EXPOSED!!!

If one of the wolves snatched your precious dog or baby you would be screaming you would want them killed. Wolves have few natural predators. If there is no control, they will take over & attack children, pets & farm animals. Are you doing anything to stop the everyday slaughter of discarded pets at the county Animal Control? Have you neutered/spayed every pet you own? [Blog editors' note: Yes; if you follow our work you already know that FoA and our activists are working in many regions to ensure animals who are dependent upon human beings are looked after and not killed, and that we have facilitated the neutering of more than 2.5 million cats and dogs in North America. And no, we would not scream to have wolves killed because they act like wolves. That is the point.]

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