September 25, 2007
In this prepared statement Young also said, the Protect America's Wildlife (PAW) Act, a bill written by the Defenders of Wildlife in one of their greatest fundraising schemes to date, trades dollars for the food out of the mouths of Alaska's rural residents. Controlling the wolf population in Alaska is essential to maintaining a healthy and viable caribou and moose herd; herds that rural residents are dependant upon to feed themselves and their families. Should the wolves' numbers increase past a certain point, the direct result is a significant decrease in these herds, and a serious threat to Alaska Native subsistence hunting.
"The aerial wolf hunt is not about hunting," said Rep. Young, "it's about wildlife management. The ads and information that the groups behind this bill are pushing are dangerously misleading and absurdly inaccurate. Those who have never had to hunt to maintain their survival are significantly crossing the boundaries when they try to dictate to those that do.
"According to figures from the Alaskan Governor's office, there are roughly 10,000 gray wolves living in Alaska right now, and on average they reproduce up to 40 percent of their population each year. The aerial hunt seeks to eliminate 140 wolves each year for management purposes only. Anyone who can do simple math can see that the state is hardly eliminating the species. Bears and wolves kill more than 80 percent of the moose and caribou that die each year. Man kills less than ten percent.
"This bill is another deliberate attempt by radicals to federalize our country and defy the core principles upon which it was founded," Rep. Young continued. States have the inherent right to manage their own wildlife populations. For the federal government to step in to one particular state is on par with a selective dictatorship, and as a population, we should be fearful that those in power are actively working to make this a reality."
As per the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Division of Wildlife Conservation, currently, five wolf control programs are underway that comprise about 9.4% of Alaska's land area. A closely controlled permit system is used, allowing aerial or same day airborne methods to remove wolves in designated areas. While populations will be reduced, wolves will not be permanently eliminated from any area. Healthy populations of wolves continue to thrive in Alaska.
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