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For Healthy Prey Populations, We Need Healthy Wolves As Well

Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / December 27, 2004


On Dec. 13 Herman Morgan's "Save moose (and dogs and ravens) by having dominion over animals" took us on a frightful tour of Alaska, a land devastated by wolves: "Some places in Alaska have become a barren desert since the wolves ate everything."

Science and common sense tell us that if the wolves ate everything, no wolves could survive; they can only exist where healthy prey populations exist.

Next we are told, "We are not trying to eliminate wolves, just control their numbers."

With about 7,000 to 8,000 wolves in Alaska, mathematics tells a different story. Last year, in defiance of two votes by Alaskans, the Board of Game saw to it that about 145 wolves were gunned down with aerial assistance. This year at least 580 wolves will meet the same fate. When combined with the 1,700 taken annually with conventional means, about one-third of Alaska's wolves will be slaughtered, with greater numbers and areas promised for next year.

Also, in Hebrew, the meaning of dominion comes from the verb "yorade," which means to come down to; have communion with and compassion for.

Bottom line: If we want long-term healthy moose and caribou populations, we also need healthy wolf populations.

John Toppenberg / Soldotna AK

 

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