As an Alaska hunter and wildlife biologist, I have three comments on your recent story, "Ruling brakes wolf-kill program" (Jan. 18):
1. This is not just a win for Friends of Animals. It's a win for Alaskans who have twice voted for initiatives making aerial predator killing illegal.
2. If indeed this aerial wolf control broke the regulations, will members of the Board of Game suffer any penalties for arranging, aiding and abetting the illegal taking of hundreds of wolves? Changing the regulations after the fact, suggested by state Fish and Game Commissioner McKie Campbell, does not exonerate the board of the illegal acts already committed.
3. Finally, state biologist Matt Robus stated that "early indications" suggest that wolf-removal programs might be effective in enhancing populations of ungulates. But in the biological realm, I will add, an immediate "indication" does not presuppose a particular long-term response. Here, this means that more moose calves may survive if you shoot out the wolves, but if the moose haven't the food (and we hear no assessments of the habitat or of energy content of moose forage available), predator removal will not increase moose numbers in the long run and may put even more stress on the habitat, possibly driving moose numbers lower. The dynamic balances of ecosystems depend upon a formula far more complex than simply moose versus wolf.
---- Jeff Fair / Palmer