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Group Eyes Alaska Boycott Over Wolf Ruling

Mary Pemberton / Associated Press / February 13, 2006

Anchorage, Alaska - The Alaska Supreme Court has denied a request by an animal-rights group to end a population-control program that allows shooting wolves from the air.

The high court on Friday turned away the case filed by Friends of Animals and refused to review a previous ruling in the matter. The court did not provide an explanation for its decision.

The ruling came less than two weeks after a lower court said the wolf program could continue following changes made by the state.

The Darien, Conn.-based animal-rights group planned to resume calling for tourists to boycott the state in light of the decision.

"As much as we are floored to get the news, we are determined to go ahead and keep working," group President Priscilla Feral said.

The wolf program, intended to boost moose and caribou populations, started in 2003 in an area where residents had long complained predators were killing too many moose, leaving too few for food.

Gov. Frank Murkowski praised the Supreme Court decision.

"Alaskans, who rely upon moose and caribou to feed their families, have scored yet another victory in court against outside interest groups," Murkowski said in a statement.

Alaska is home to the largest remaining population of gray wolves in the country. Biologists estimate about 7,000 to 11,000 wolves roam the state.

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