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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

OMG, I'm so glad others are as upset about her and the aerial "hunting" of wolves and also about the denning of those poor pups as I am!!!!!! My friends and I have named her Caribou Barbie and we can't stand that brainless caricature of a woman. [Blog editors' note: Palin guns for caribou, too. Vicious describes this person best.

I'm now convinced Sarah Palin has a smart brain, but she doesn't know how to use it. If she thinks this will buy McCain more votes, it's backfiring at them. All Sarah Palin has ever wanted is for everyone in the world to worship her and tell her that she's a savior. Ha ha, like that is going to happen one day. .. How would Sarah Palin like it if she were a wolf?? [Blog editors' note: It's worth repeating: Palin's a disaster, and it has taken several painful weeks for some to figure that out.]

Wolves are my spirit guide and my heart. Palin should be ... (otherwise sent into outer space) I feel their fear, and I cry for their safety.

I have been experiencing a bad case of PED (post election depression). The biggest cause I think is that Palin is back in Alaska killing the wild creatures and attempting to rape one of the last pristine wildernesses in North America. I have hope that "a brighter day will come" but not soon enough for these beautiful creatures. We can't forget about Sarah Palin, we need to stand up and fight for those who do not have a voice!

Well, thank goodness she was defeated. Imagine what she would do to places like Yellowstone (or for that matter Hawaii).

Ahh, Sarah Palin's ways seem abusive and overdone. Sigh...there's enough caribou and moose, something is telling me that its greed that's driving her. Money, money, money the powers are always after it.

It makes me want to cry. No animal should be treated this way. Most people don't know what is going on & don't care about any type of animal, or the enviroment.We must take action toward savin our planet earth.Since I am still young I don't want to grow up to see nothing but, concrete.

She pretends to care about the unborn child but she doesn't mind putting bullets in the heads of wolf pups and bear cubs.

The act of shooting from a plain,has been going on in the lower 48 for years and years,and by state and fed governments so why is it not reported there?? I live in Wi and in the past the DNR has shot swans off lakes in southern Wi,so why did you not report that?? Seams like you are on one side. Joe [Blog editors' note: Aerial shooting forays for wolves and bears goes on in Alaska -- not in Wisconsin and FoA made plenty of noise when maniacs shot swans in a lake. We're on the animals' side. No doubt about it.]

It's easy to get dumb people worked up over one side of an issue.The worst death for animals is not shooting,it's starvation from overpopulation.Here in Colorado I can describe it's horror.Undereducated Ashley Judd & other assinine Hollywoodies get free publicity from this crap.Try going into an overpopulated area where animals have starved & see their carcasses & misery.Wildlife biologists,not S. Palin, are shooting wolves.You want the species to thrive but there has to be adequate caribou & moose.Where is there ever a photographer to take the photos of starving animals & show truth of both sides of any issue? [Blog editors' note: Speaking of dumbness, It's Gov. Palin who defends the persecution of wolves, bears and other animals in Alaska. In her spare time she poses with photos of bleeding animals she has shot. Spare us your tales about natural mortality. When animals die of natural causes, their bodies are food for other animals. Caribou and moose don't need protection from gun nuts -- shooters --who want the last word on who lives and who dies.

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