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From 2 November 2003 Issue

Wolves In Bullet Proof Vests Protest Killing From Aircraft

ANCHORAGE, AK, -- Wolf-appearing animals in bullet proof vests will be on display near the State’s Board of Game meeting Monday to protest the Governor’s approval of aerial wolf killing. A rally is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday, November 3 on the corner of Aviation and Spenard, near the Millenium Hotel.

Governor Murkowski’s decision to allow members of the public to kill wolves with the aid of aircraft defies the overwhelming will of voters in two statewide elections, and a half-million people from around the world. His own Department of Fish and Game has a long standing history of opposition.

For the first time in more than a quarter century, hunters will be able to shoot wolves from the cockpit of their airplane. “The number of wolves killed annually in Alaska has more than doubled since aerial shooting was banned,” said Dr. Paul Joslin, Alaska Wildlife Alliance wildlife director. “Too many hunters are already being encouraged to kill wolves because of private bounty inducements, liberalized bag limits, wolf trapping clinics and legalized chasing of wolves with the aid of high powered snowmachines,” he went on to say.

Alaska voters thought they had put the matter of aerial wolf hunting to rest when they voted twice to ban the practice, once in a 1996 ballot initiative, and again in a 2000 referendum. Governor Murkowski’s refusal to listen to the voters could lead the state into an economic downturn.

In 1992, Governor Walter Hickel launched a similar wolf control program that was so unpopular it sparked a tourism boycott. Alaska's wildlife-associated tourism industry provides tens of thousands of jobs and contributes approximately $1.4 billion annually to the economy.

The bullet-proof wolf rally launches a new “Awareness” campaign by The Alaska Wildlife Alliance aimed at trying to head off such a disaster. It is none too soon, as Governor Murkowski’s hand picked Board of Game will be deciding at its October 31--November 4 meeting where, when and how the aerial killing of wolves will happen this winter. A photo will be released on Friday, October 31st at www.akwildlife.org/wolf 

Maury Mason
Executive Director
Alaska Wildlife Alliance
(907) 277-0897
maury@akwildlife.org

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