Alaska Newsreader / Anchorage Daily News / March 25, 2008

Dead olf

Hunter retrieves the body of a wolf shot from a plane. (Photo courtesy Wolf)

Down for a week after a judge’s ruling, the state’s predator-control program is back at “full throttle,” according to a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner story. The Board of Game met in an emergency session to look at legal problems cited in the judge’s decision and made adjustments, according to the story.

Pilot-gunner teams have reported killing 81 wolves in five control areas this winter, according to the story. The decision to go ahead with the program drew quick criticism from critics, including this from Priscilla Feral, executive director of Friends of Animals, which sued to stop the program:

“The (Game Board) and their apologists in the bureaucracy have a reputation as a nursery for nitwit schemes. When the courts have ruled that the state’s aerial wolf-shooting schemes are breaking the law, within days, the Board of Game concocts new rules. Clearly, they make stuff up, their process is a sham and they just want to shoot wolves everywhere in Alaska. This is an abuse of power.”

Alaska Judge Upholds Aerial Wolf Killing But Limits Extent

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Environmental News Service) March 18, 2008- A federal judge on Friday invalidated the aerial gunning of wolves in several areas of Alaska in a case brought by four conservation groups challenging the state’s wolf control program.

At the same time, Superior Court Judge William Morse upheld the practice of shooting wolves from planes and helicopters.

“¦In his decision, Judge Morse examined the entire history of Alaska’s wolf control programs. His ruling upholds the aerial gunning program as a whole, while banning the practice in four areas covering up to 15,000 of the total of about 60,000 square miles covered by the program.

The areas where the judge banned aerial gunning are the areas into which the Game Board extended it in 2006, notably covering the entire Forty Mile caribou herd near Tok and also in an area across Cook Inlet from Anchorage.

“¦From her office in Darien, Connecticut, Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, said, “Our efforts in the lawsuit stopped aerial wolf control in 12,000 – 15,000 square miles of Alaska – that’s four regions into which the state had expanded their reckless killing schemes in 2006. They’ve opened 60,000 square miles to aircraft and helicopter-assisted shooting as the bureaucracy is hell bent on killing wolves all across the state.”

“These ghastly forays must be halted by public publicy, a majority of voters on a ballot initiative in August, and through other reforms and legal challenges,” said Feral. “Alaska’s mean-spirited predator control programs are a blight on the continent. Friends of Animals is committed to holding the Board of Game’s feet to the fire; their process is a sham.”

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