Judge faults expansion of wolf control

PREDATOR MANAGEMENT: Overall program upheld by court ruling on Friday.

The Associated Press

A judge on Friday invalidated the aerial killing of wolves in several small areas of Alaska while issuing a ruling upholding the state predator control program.

Superior Court Judge William F. Morse issued a lengthy ruling that took a look at the state’s wolf control program, now operating in five areas of Alaska. The program is being challenged by Friends of Animals, Defenders of Wildlife and the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.

The groups filed the lawsuit against the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Board of Game in 2006 in hopes of ending the aerial wolf control program.

Supporters say the program will help increase the moose and caribou that people in rural areas rely on for food. But critics contend that the Game Board does not have the science to justify killing hundreds of wolves under the guise of predator control.

“Alaskans have allowed their bureaucracy to be taken over by extremists — people who want to keep an air force to annihilate wolves and other natural predators,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Darien, Conn.-based Friends of Animals. “The state’s mean-spirited and deeply unpopular wolf-shooting forays must stop.”

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