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Board Decisions on Wolf Control Fly in the Face of Good Science, Policy


Letters / Anchorage Daily News / February 13, 2006

Why did the state adopt illegal predator-control programs that failed a court test? Why did it compound the problem with a hasty attempt at an emergency fix? ("State acts to resume aerial wolf kills," Jan. 26.)

Five predator-control programs totaling 50,000 square miles and targeting several hundred wolves were at stake. These failed to distinguish among bad winters, poor habitat, heavy hunting and bear predation as causes of moose declines; i.e., the programs used poor science.

In its rush to adopt the largest predator-control programs since statehood, the board also ignored two ballot initiatives banning private pilots from taking wolves. Instead, an air force of 100 privately owned planes was deployed.

At a hastily called teleconference the board excluded public testimony. It never listened to biologists who repeatedly warned the board in the past about using poor science.

Apparently, the board only listened to hunters who claim there are fewer moose now than before but way more wolves. The board failed to understand that, despite intensive management, demand for game will always outstrip supply, and hunters will always demand more predator control. Until the board hears those who object to the present control programs as poor science and poor public policy, it will continue to lose battles in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion.

---- Vic Van Ballenberghe / Anchorage AK

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