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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

You do not support abortion even if the person is a victim of rape or incest. What about wolves and their babies? Are they not lives. Or is it that animals do not have souls? Animals are God's creation also Sarah? Today hunting is a pleasure not for the necessity of food. Groceries in this country are fully stocked. Maybe Pastor should send you some special prayers for these cruel acts you allow. Tis' a shame!!!!

anyone who would kill an innocent animal and think nothing of it should definitely NOT be in the White House. she is so set against abortion but thinks its ok to kill an animal?! definitely not right in the head if you ask me.

In Sarah Palin's interview with Charles Gibson it was clear that she was struggling for answers to questions on subjects about which she knew very little. Acting won't cut it. As well, how anyone could support a person who sanctions aerial wolf hunts (no, the caribous are not endangered - yet), who seems to have no respect for the environmental issues so important today and who is so far behind on women's rights, is obviously not informed on the issues. Go, Obama!!

As with the greed in this country being the main motivator, eliminating species does affect the food chain. Look what happened with the Nile Virus systematic elimination of the mosquitoes. The bats for whom this was their main diet have died out and affected the bird population. The bees are a better example; pesticides on the plants & flowers have wiped out much of the bees and bees are the main pollinator of 2/3 of our country's food supply. They are dying out, who will pollinate our plants? People usually do not know how delicate the eco-system is, and with the wolf population dwindling, the smaller animals will be overbreeding (everything has its checks & balances, except for people)and will Sarah Palin also put out an moratorium on them as well?

The Bible says that you will know Christians by their fruit (which is peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control). Hunters in the Bible were not considered to be God's chosen. For real change for health care, the environment, world hunger and compassion, we should move back to our God-given plant-based diet.

If you'll induge me a second comment, I'd like to say that I have personally seen the segments CNN has televised this week showing the footage of the aerial wolf shooting in AK. In fact, I've seen the segments several times as they were replayed over a couple of days. For anyone who didn't have the opportunity to see this footage, let me just say, it couldn't have beeen more real or more appalling. I'm still heart sick about it, and it's been a few days. [Blog editors' note: Then there's the witness we have to the state agents who shot wolf pups to death after their helicopter gun ship arrived to exterminate wolves in one area in the Aleutian chain when wolves were wrongly blamed for lower numbers of caribou calves. In truth, caribou were hunted in that area, and the terrain was less than ideal, but that didn't stop the Palin administration from slaughtering a couple of dozen wolves and then shooting pups in their heads.

I find McCain's choice of Palin is appalling. Please everyone spread the word about her sadistic tendencies and help prevent her coming into power.

This is horrible! How can she get away with this?

There is something we can do! Alaska depends on tourism-right?? If we stop visiting Alaska until this senseless murder of these beautiful animals is stopped I can just imagine this murder would stop!! So-boycott tourism in Alaska!!!! A powerful tool for animal lovers!!!!

I thought she was prolife, aren't wolves alive? I would not vote for her even if I agreed with her other values. There is no sport in flying around shooting at innocent animals. These animals have just as much right to be here as we do. Let's let her run around in the snow and have someone fly around over her to see how much she likes it. Isn't it bad enough we kill each other on this planet, do we have to kill everything else?

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