Anchorage, Alaska - A judge in Anchorage suspended the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's aerial wolf-thinning program on Tuesday, Jan. 17. In her ruling, Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason said the state failed to follow its own rules when instituting the aerial killing of wolves in order to protect moose and caribou herds.
In a 32-page ruling, Gleason said that the state failed to demonstrate what alternative means for reducing wolves had been used in each area and why they wouldn't work.
While animal-rights activists are all smiles and hailing the judge's decision, the Department of Fish and Game, the Board of Game, pro-hunting organizations and Gov. Frank Murkowski all believe the decision was made merely on a technicality and cited the fact that the judge agreed with them on nearly ever other point - including biological data used to implement the program.
Of the estimated 7,000-11,000 wolves in the state, 445 have been killed since the aerial culling program was started in 2003 - only 24 have been killed this year.