On the 17th of January, Alaska's Superior Court declared that the aerial wolf control scheme, in which people in aircraft chase wolves to exhaustion and then shoot them, is invalid.
The airborne hunting permits, issued to boost moose populations for human hunters, flew in the face of the Board of Game's own regulations.
Since 2003, 445 wolves have been gunned down using those permits that were wrongly issued. The state wants to wipe out 400 more wolves under the scheme this season, but the permits were recalled. So Alaska's Board of Game called an emergency meeting -- as though its lack of competence in adhering to its own rules is properly called an emergency.
Sunday, the 29th of January, the Board just flat-out repealed requirements for public notice and input regarding wolf and bear control. It also repealed all requirements and limitations that apply generally to wolf control -- the very bases for the Court's initial January ruling that existing wolf control plans are invalid!
For the first time in history, Alaska's officials are allowing the sale of bear hides and skulls. The Board of Game decided to apply this rule in a part of northeastern Alaska, and the interior areas where aerial wolf hunting has been allowed.
Bruce Bartley, a Fish and Game spokesperson, said that when Alaska gained statehood, many residents thought federal laws had targeted wolves and bears too ruthlessly, and the new state wanted to treat them as animals worthy of respect in their own right.
As Bartley told the Anchorage Daily News: Things are different now.
Animals aren't worthy of respect these days in Alaska. Their fate lies with a capricious Game Board, or game-playing board. When caught in their games, they try, like peeved children, to change the rules. Friends of Animals' goal is to stop the entire scheme.
Last Friday -- ten days after the wolves prevailed in Court -- we returned, seeking a Temporary Restraining Order to stop the Game Board's emergency circumvention.
Yesterday, the judge turned down our Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order against the emergency regulations adopted by the Board last week. So predator control can go forth, under the new regulations we've just challenged.
We're now considering our legal options.