New York, New York — Friends of Animals, the Connecticut-based international animal advocacy organization says the state of Alaska can count on a tourism boycott if Alaska’s Gov. Frank Murkowski approves yesterday’s decision by the Alaska Board of Game to shoot all the wolves with shot-guns from helicopters, and move bears from a 520-square-mile area near McGrath, Alaska.
FoA president Priscilla Feral says FoA will urge tourists to boycott Alaska similar to one launched by FoA in the early 1990’s and prior to the cancellation of Alaska’s wolf control programs in 1993. FoA’s focus will be to form a broad-based coalition of people who respect wildlife and who book summer cruises and visits to Alaska with tourist booking agencies during the key months of November 2003 through January 2004.
Feral, who recently testified at a March 6, 2003 hearing of the Alaska Board of Game in Anchorage, said if Gov. Murkowski approves this predator control proposal, “FoA will initiate demonstrations and protests all over the world and will match every dollar devoted to killing wolves in organizing an offensive against the policy”.
Ms. Feral, said from the FoA’s headquarters in Darien, Connecticut, that she was “horrified, but not surprised” at The Board’s action. “That’s why they were hand-picked” by the governor, Feral said. She added that a legal challenge to the predator-killing scheme is being considered.
Alaskan state biologists say they want to produce 50-75 more moose for Alaskan hunters by eliminating wolves and bears around McGrath. They also plan to shoot wolves for four more years who migrate into the area where wolves have been massacred. Relying on Gordon Haber, an Alaska wildlife scientist, FoA denounced the science behind the McGrath wolf-killing scheme as “abominable.”
Feral said she hopes tourism groups would pressure Alaska’s governor not to bring a “controversial, public relations disaster and shame to Alaska” by approving a wolf massacre. “Times have changed. Violent persecution campaigns against wolves or other predators are considered uncivilized and mean-spirited,” Feral said.