Defenders of Wildlife Decries First Airborne Wolf Shooting Since Late
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Defenders of Wildlife today
expressed outrage over the confirmed killing of 14 [the count is now 30]
wolves so far in Alaska's Nelchina Basin by airborne private hunters.
These are the first wolves killed under Alaska's controversial new
aerial gunning program, and the first since the state legislature
overturned 1996 and 2000 statewide referendums that outlawed the
"In statewide votes, Alaskans twice rejected aerial wolf
gunning, and twice the state legislature decided that wealthy sport
hunters are more important than Alaska voters," said Rodger Schlickeisen,
president of Defenders of Wildlife. "Governor Murkowski is backing the
extermination of wolves across an area the size of Texas, apparently
with the goal of making it so easy to bag a moose that any thrill-seeker
from the Lower-48 can do it. It gives a black eye to hunting traditions
and values, and creates and image of Alaska that is anything but
welcoming to non-hunters."
Twenty-eight pilots obtained permits on January 22nd to
kill wolves in this area. No details are known at this point in regards
to the number of hunters that actually killed wolves. Plans call for up
to 140 wolves to be killed in this area by April 30th.
The objective of the program is to kill 80 percent of
the wolves in an 8,000 square mile area through land-and-shoot hunting
in an attempt to boost moose populations for hunters, despite the fact
that insufficient data have been gathered on the number of wolves and
moose in this area. Aerial gunners can kill males, females and even wolf
pups as part of the program.
Unlike regular sport hunting, aerial gunning involves
either shooting from aircraft, or land-and-shoot hunting in which
shooters in aircraft chase wolves or other wildlife in deep snow until
the animals are too exhausted to move, and then land nearby to make the
"This aerial gunning program is designed to artificially
boost game populations, simply for the convenience of thousands of sport
hunters who descend on the Nelchina Basin every year," said Joel
Bennett, a former member of the Alaska Board of Game and a spokesman for
Defenders of Wildlife. "It's a triumph of raw politics over biology, and
insults the voters of the whole state."
The citizens of Alaska have twice voted in statewide
measures (1996 and 2000) to ban the aerial killing of wolves.
Nonetheless, Governor Murkowski signed a bill last June overturning the
most recent ban.
Defenders of Wildlife is a leading nonprofit
conservation organization recognized as one of the nation's most
progressive advocates for wildlife and wildlife habitat. With more than
450,000 members and supporters nationwide, Defenders is an effective
leader on environmental issues. For timely information on environmental
issues, visit www.defenders.org
and subscribe to DENLines, a free e-mail alert newsletter.
Alaska Program Associate
Defenders of Wildlife
308 G Street, #310
Anchorage, AK 99501
Go on to Toxoplasmosis
Return to 8 February 2004 Issue
Return to Newsletters
** Fair Use Notice**
This document may contain copyrighted material, use of which has not been
specifically authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that this
not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the
copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright
Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your
own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright