Wolf Song of Alaska News


Alaska Board of Game to Meet on
Controversial Wolf Control Proposal

Alaska Wildlife Alliance / February 16, 2006

Note to Alaska Wildlife Alliance Members: If you are not a resident of Alaska, please use this alert for informational purposes only, or inform someone you know who is a resident.

BOG will accept comment/testimony only from Alaska residents.

Your comments to the Board of Game needed by Friday, February 24.

The Board of Game (BOG) will meet March 10-20 in Fairbanks (click for location) regarding a host of predator control proposals, including "emergency measures" adopted by the Board to circumvent a recent court ruling which stated that the BOG acted illegally by ignoring their own regulations concerning airborne wolf killing.

Public testimony and written comment are two ways you can let the BOG know that their actions are being monitored and that a majority of Alaskans do not support the airborne slaughter of wolves.

For a full review of BOG's proposals:
    * Spring 2006 Proposal Book (Intro and Proposals) (*PDF - 579 KB)
    * Spring 2006 Introduction Only (*PDF - 47 KB)
    * Spring 2006 Proposals 1-150 Only (*PDF - 536 KB)
    * SUPPLEMENTAL to Spring 2006 Proposal Book (*PDF - 293 KB)

Deadline: Written comments must be received by 5:00 PM, February 24, 2006.

FAX TO: BOG Comments at 907-465-6094

or MAIL:

Attn: BOG Comments
Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Boards Support Section
P.O. Box 25526
Juneau, AK 99802-5526

Public Testimony

We need people to join AWA in Fairbanks to present public testimony to the board.

Please submit a written comment NOW, and plan to JOIN US in March at the BOG meeting. BOG meetings do not adhere to their published schedule, so please let us know in advance if you are planning to attend. Provide a phone number with your contact information, and we will call you in advance to let you know if the schedule is on track. Contact: Tedi Gillespie, Outreach Coordinator tedi@akwildlife.org (907) 277-9817 if you can join us.

Below are some key issues and message points that you may want to include in your comments to the board.

Key Issues for March 2006 BOG Meeting

BOG's intensive management strategy calls for the largest wolf-control program since statehood, (covering 50,000 square miles and targeting an 80% reduction in wolves) and yet the program:

          * Ignores valid scientific evidence in favor of anecdotal reports to support unsustainably high moose population increases.

          * Fails to distinguish between wolf predation and bad winters, poor habitat, heavy hunting and bear predation as primary or additional causes of moose declines.

          * Uses outdated research and extrapolates data to create desired "evidence" to support its agenda. There has been little formal, scientific process to update information on wolf and bear populations, mortality rates and subsistence needs prior to beginning intensive predator management.

          * Disregards the advice of the National Research Council which offers a science-based approach to predator management.

          * Includes programs that are unnecessarily expensive with little or no result (McGrath has cost the state 1.7 million, where there has been significant moose starvation, with no net increase in moose.)

          * Ignores any consideration of alternatives, dismissing them as "ineffective, impractical or uneconomical."

          * Airborne wolf-killing by private pilots has twice been voted down by ballot initiatives, but BOG has ignored the will of the majority of Alaskan's and implemented the program anyway.

          * Over one hundred private pilots have permits to shoot wolves and there is no true way for BOG to monitor these private kills.

          * Emergency measures adopted January 2006 received no public input, were designed solely to circumvent Judge Gleason's ruling so that wolf-killing could continue unabated, when in fact, no "emergency" existed.

          * Some of these "emergency" measures now include a proposal to legalize the sale of brown bear hides harvested from a 2,700-square-mile section of east-central Alaska, and the sale of black bear hides harvested from all five predator-control areas.

          * This would give Alaska the distinction of being the only state where brown bear hides can legally be sold. With brown bear hides valued at upwards of $10,000, this is an invitation for abuses, and a return to market hunting.

          * BOG has no means to truly monitor this sort of program and the proliferation of bear kills for hide sales will result in considerable abuses.

Message Points

BOG needs to:
    * Re-evaluate "intensive management" strategies to include balanced approach to wildlife management - the goal of a true wildlife management plan should not exist solely to increase game populations without regard to habitat, need, and other non-consumptive factors.

    * Set policy based on sound science, not just a response to hunter's demand for more game.

    * Where predator control is deemed truly necessary and other alternatives have been proven unworkable, then wolf control through airborne shooting should be conducted by ADF&G employees, not private pilots.

    * Include the voice and wishes of all Alaskans.

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