Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 22 April 2007 Issue
WRITE! PROTEST! Alaska Offers Wolf Bounty: $150 Each
The state of Alaska has engaged in a predator control program since 2003
1. Alaska Offers Wolf Bounty:
$150 Each State may bring in helicopters to meet predator-control kill goals
Since 2003, the state of Alaska has engaged in a predator control program (www.idausa.org/campaigns/wildlife/alaskan_wolf.html) which uses trapping and aerial hunting to kill wolves, which prey upon moose, caribou and other native species that are hunted by humans. This year, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is offering hunters a bounty of $150 cash for the left foreleg of every wolf they shoot because they say not nearly enough wolves have been killed yet.
The state's predator control plan called for as many as 664 wolves to be killed by April 30, but only about 100 wolves had been killed so far. There is less snow on the ground this year, which makes wolves much harder to track, and high winds make flying more difficult. With the predator control program in its fourth year, there are also fewer wolves. This alone should give the state pause to consider whether killing more wolves is wise, but instead state officials continue with their strategy of blind destruction, calling for an intensified attack against their enemy.
Up until now, there were 180 pilots and aerial gunners involved in the predator control program, all of them private citizens who obtained a special permit to participate in the hunt. ADF&Gnow plans to add more people to this pool, drawing from applicants who were denied a permit in the first round. All of these individuals will be eligible for the reward money, which can be claimed upon submission of a wolf's left foreleg. In addition, hunters can sell the animals' pelts for several hundred dollars.
The state's arsenal already includes snowmobiles, ATVs and airplanes, saturation snare sets and traps, but they could soon add helicopters as another vehicle to more efficiently shoot and kill entire wolf packs. ADF&G made the request, and Governor Sarah Palin will permit their use "as a last resort." Helicopters and gunners could be in the air in less than two weeks if the state's kill goals are not being met.
Facing criticism from within Alaska and around the world -- including tourism boycotts and lawsuits -- the officials who run the predator control program hide behind a smokescreen of lies and deception. Rather than admitting that they want to boost populations of "prey" animals for trophy hunters, who bring revenue to the state through buying licenses, ADF&G claims they conduct wolf culls in the name of science. That is, to study the wolves, they must destroy them.
John Toppenberg, director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, challenges their hypocrisy. "You can use whatever euphemism and call it an incentive or whatever double-speak trips your trigger but it strikes us as a bounty," he said. "What the state is involved in here has more to do with animal husbandry than science, the elimination of one species to artificially inflate another."
Wildlife scientist Lauren Nolfo-Clements also points out the ineffectiveness of the state's lethal approach. "Alaska Fish and Game's own data has shown that killing wolves does little to reduce predation rates," she said. "As alpha wolves are killed, surviving pack members increase their reproductive rates, leading to greater predation rates to feed the additional pups."
What You Can Do:
1. Please "Take Action" (http://ga0.org/campaign/StopAerialHuntingNow_2) to politely urge Governor Palin to end Alaska's aerial wolf control program. To have more impact, also contact Governor Palin by email, phone or postal mail:
P.O. Box 110001 Juneau, AK 99811-0001
Telephone: (907) 465-3500
Fax: (907) 465-3532
Email: [email protected]
2. Also "Take Action" to urge President Bush to enforce the Federal Airborne Hunting Act (FAHA) and end the aerial gunning of wolves in Alaska (http://ga0.org/campaign/StopAerialHuntingNow_Bush). To have more impact, also contact President Bush by email, phone or postal mail:
President Bush The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Washington, DC
Telephone: (202) 456-1111
Fax: (202) 456-2461
Email: [email protected]
Staff: [email protected]
Go on to A Team of Nappy-Haired Hos, By Robert Cohen
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