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Eagles Aren't a Significant Problem in Homer AK;  in Fact, They Aid Economy

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / January 6, 2005

Some groups are asking people to help make feeding bald eagles illegal. Proposals 38, 39, 40 and 43 to the Board of Game are intended to stop Homer's Jean Keene, who has fed eagles for 26 years.

Anti-feeders say there has "probably" been harm to small pets and ducks. Is this just another campaign to reduce people's enjoyment from watching wildlife? After all, those who watch wildlife, but do not hunt, are just animal rights activists who want to stop hunting, aren't they?

Have those supporting the end of feeding thought about how much seeing eagles has helped wildlife management in Alaska, just by getting people interested in wildlife? Eagles in Homer are not a significant problem. Homer's eagles provide a significant winter income to hotels and restaurants, and Jean has helped capture sick and injured eagles.

I believe feeding the eagles has increased eagle numbers in the area, but I've not heard of any specific harm from the increase. More eagles simply means more eagles are seen by people all year long.

If aerial hunting of wolves is done to help hunters, why stop the feeding of eagles and stop a world-renowned wildlife watching event? Why not support Jean and encourage more people to become involved in wildlife management?

Leo Keeler / Anchorage

EDITOR'S NOTE: The writer is a professional wildlife photographer and former Alaska Board of Game member.

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