Says Defenders of Wildlife
November 5, 2003
"The voters of Alaska have twice rejected this practice," said Karen Deatherage, Alaska Program Associate for Defenders of Wildlife. "The State Legislature, the Governor, and now the Game Board have trampled on the voters' wishes and opened the door to the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of wolves. Senator Lisa Murkowski is on record opposing this practice; we need her to step forward and speak out on behalf of Alaska's voters."
The areas approved for aerial wolf control include almost two thousand square miles in interior Alaska. Land and shoot killings will also occur in an enormous area just east of Anchorage where it is estimated that 80 percent of the wolves could die as a result of this renewed practice. Other massive areas throughout Alaska are also being considered for similar permits which will likely be approved at the winter Board of Game meeting this March.
Due to weather conditions, biologists have been unable to accurately survey moose populations in the control area around McGrath since 2001, when they found over twice as many moose as were thought to exist then in previous years. "These plans are based on bad data or no data at all. Are the moose declining, or are we simply dealing with dissatisfied hunters? The science suggests the latter," says Deatherage.
According to Defenders of Wildlife, Alaska is home to the largest remaining population of gray wolves in the United States. Scientists estimate some 7,000 to 9,000 wolves roam the state. But unlike wolves in the lower 48 states, wolves in Alaska are not afforded protection under the Endangered Species Act, and wolf hunting is allowed in ninety-five percent of the state. In the past five years, over 7,500 wolves were killed through hunting and trapping.
For more information on Alaska's plan to resume aerial killing of wolves: http://www.defenders.org/wildlife/wolf/alaska.html
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