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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

Palin is one sick puppy. I have been so upset about this since first reading it I can hardly sleep at night. ..It's true her father's bumper sticker says, "Vegetarian--Indian word for Bad Shot?" And she wants to keep bars open until 5am and supports concealed weapons in schools and bars? It is embarrassing to have her as a candidate. McCain certainly is desperate. Please make sure everyone you know is aware of her... tactics. I could never vote for her or McCain. They are dangerous people--and I thought Bush and Cheeney were the bottom of the barrel!!! Let's get Obama elected quickly and Alaska can deal with that nut. [Blog editors' note: Reportedly, the bumper sticker reads: Vegetarian: Old Indian Word For Bad Hunter. When one thinks of the Palin clan, it's like the Beverly Hillbillies arriving in Washington, with less humility.]

Sarah Palin is despicable. These are helpless animals just doing what they naturally do. Please get the message about this unnecessary killing out to all Americans.

...I am also for not killing animals as in hunting as a sport unless you later consume the animal etc...but having 2 children I am for shotting predators if they are close enough to be of danger to my children and pets.

My esp was right. The first time I saw this women on tv I felt a chill.

I will not vote for anyone supporting any kind of cruelty just so that others can come and kill more animals!

Palin is a disgrace to women, and she is a poor excuse of a leader by promoting her barbaric treatment of animals. I cringe at the thought of her possibly being in control of our country. Doesn't she realise she is McCain's pawn, and he is simply using her to "try" and win over the 18 million Hillary supporters?

I am not an american citizen, but for sure I am a citizen of the world who respects every living creature and pray to G-d that no one with this lack of respect for animals would govern the most powerful country in the world.

I am disgusted, she just lost my vote.

A short time ago there was a gathering of 1,400 women and children in Anchorage, Alaska who were protesting Sarah Palin becoming Vice President. No one knows her in the lower states that well but these that have lived near her know what is going on with the animals there and have been there during her time in office when other things have been aledged to have happened. I feel that possibly they know her better than we do and there is good reason for their action.

Not to long ago, a famous quarterback was found quilty and put in prison for the sport of killing innocent dogs. Isn't this, the slaughter of innocent wolves, NEWBORN PUPS even a more haneous crime! I never intended on voting for the McCain/palin ticket, but now I'm even more convinced and will do my best to convince others to do the same. All Life is Precious!

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