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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

Anyone who has had a Pet Dog knows the innate intelligence of canines. They are loyal and defensive of their pack members, (including humans). They are able to express emotion, sadness, joy and concern along with what can only be described as problem solving abilities that (these) species exhibit. When my dog protects me from a mugger or warns me that I left something cooking on the stove, its more than just animal instinct, its intelligence. Now wild canines, such as these wolves, share these same qualities, mating for life, nurturing their young, defending their pack, problem solving in their environment etc etc. So when I hear this news of Pailin's legislation promoting the killing of these noble and intelligent creatures ... I get absolutely sick to my stomach. Anyone who is human family to a canine should be appalled by these actions.

Why or why would we consider someone with such brutal feelings against animals? Also I do not understand why your organization is not more vocal on this topic and work against her being able to proceed into a seat of power in a nation where respect to animals is a valued characteristic of true Americans. [Blog editors' note: You think animal dvocates are considering Palin -- someone who gives violoence a mystique? Perhaps you should spend more time reading our quarterly magazine, or sorting through the Web site. Friends of Animals has sued the Palin administration in Alaska for its persecution of wolves. And there's much more.]

Hi Folks: My story is a little different from most of you, but my reaction to Palin's wolf eradication program is probably even stronger ! When I see people taking pride in killing these creatures for fun, it touches a degree of anger and rage in me that I havn't ever felt. It's not only Gov. Palin to blame, tho the buck stops with her and her policies, but the numbnuts that think that killing wolves is just good fun. Needless to say, McCain does not get my vote, and what can be done to remove Palin from public office ?

McCain should be ashamed of himself for appointing this uncaring, cruel, vile woman as his running mate. Heaven help us, our country and the rest of the world IF McCain Palin get in the White House! Palin: she's nothing but a holy roller hipocrite!

It's very sad to think people like this are in power. She acted very childish during the debates, and there could have been so many better choices for a female VP than this piece of (use your imagination) People that are cold hearted are always elected into positions of power. I'm not a fan of Obama either, but am voting for him for sure. I just hope this election isn't rigged like the first. She is a disgrace of a human, and will be judged accordingly. [Blog editors' note: Cold-hearted people are not always politicians. Palin's particularly problematic, and that doesn't let excuse McCain's antics. Alaska has needed a shake-up in state government. Perhaps Palin's preposterous behavior will bring change where it's most needed. The blush certainly is off the rose. ]

Sarah Palin isn't only waging war on wolves. She also sued the federal government for putting polar bears on the endangered species list. She also opposes the listing of belugas. Also, here parent's cabin is filled with owl wings, orca teeth, bear skins, deer heads, etc. At a young age, she was already shooting rabbits out the back door.

What Palin doesn't seem to understand is that wolves are endangered and the population doesn't need to be controlled. Also the wolves don't go out and eat all of the caribou and moose they eat the sick and the weak. This in turn actually helps the people that rely on the caribou and moose for food. Wolves have been on this earth for thousands of years they are part of the delicate system, the natural balance, of life. Without them things could go terribly wrong. Also in just a 100 years or so we have started to kill off creatures that have been on this earth even longer than we have. Do we really want to cause such beautiful, mysterious, and magnificent creatures to be gone forever. Palin clearly has no regard for life, unless it be her own.

Dear Fellow Animal Lovers and Protectors: I made my stand today against Gov. Palin ... There are still so many folks out there that don't know this about the governor and I have sent zillions of emails to inform folks and please join me in that endeavor the last few weeks we still have to change people's minds. I hope AK boots her out once she goes back there but we have to remain vigilant because another just like her will pop up. The governor prior to her was just as bad on the aerial wolf killing. Folks in Alaska: we love your state's natural resources and we will fight to protect it. Please help get folks like Palin out of elected offices. Thank you.

To Mrs. Sarah Palin: I am saddened and appalled that you can say you love the God that I serve and kill His beautiful creation. Jesus said to his disciples "not a sparrow falls from the sky that the Heavenly Father does not know about, how much more does He love you." Imagine, not a sparrow falls from the sky that the Father does not know about, how great a love He has. And then there is you. You have shown yourself to be extremely nasty and rude to those you run against. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus give you license to act rudely to anyone. Jesus said: "love your enemy," If your enemy ask you for your shirt give him your coat as well," If your enemy ask you to walk one mile walk two." How could you say those awful things about Obama and Biden. In addition to asking Senator Joe Biden if you could call him "Joe." In proverbs it says "rise before the gray haired." I must say I am very shocked at who you say you are and who you follow and have such disrespect for those who are wiser and older than you. As far as the animals, I tried to understand when you said you went hunting to feed your family fresh meat. It was hard but I tried. However when I saw the aerial hunting of the wolves on "You Tube," I was sickened and horrified. In Revelations it states that we will be judged by the way we treat the earth and God's creation. I pray you a truthful tongue and compassionate heart Sarah. You say you are my sister in Christ because you follow Him yet you disregard and disrespect his creation both animal and human. You will not get my vote. The actions of a person show the love of Christ and I do not see that in you where you should be showing it the most, to the world. I pray the Lord convict your heart with truth and love.

Why doesn't Palin wrap a dead wolf or bloody bear skin around her while she is giving her speeches or drag around the carcass of a slaughtered animal instead of the Down's syndrome baby for the sympathy vote...she acts like a martyr but she is a murderer. She knows if people knew the truth she would never get one vote...and she sure won't get this one. [Blog editors' note: In a 2006 photograph of Palin inside the governor's office, there's a wolf skin hanging from the back of the door.]

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