Anchorage, AK -- The Alaska Board of Game will meet in Fairbanks from March 10th through March 20th to consider a number of proposals to expand the aerial gunning of wolves into new areas, increase the harvest of bears, and allow the state to permanently resume five aerial wolf control programs. Collectively the actions will significantly expand the breadth of the state's already intensive predator-killing program.
"The Board of Game continues to ramp up these ill-advised and scientifically-flawed programs, despite strong public opposition to aerial gunning by private individuals," said Caroline Kennedy, Field Conservation Director with Defenders of Wildlife. "It's clear the board is not serving the needs of a majority of Alaskans, just the needs of a few who are willing to sacrifice Alaska's natural heritage."
"At their so-called emergency meeting in January, the board did not allow the public an opportunity to comment on the five predator control plans that had been ruled illegal by the court. They merely rubber stamped the programs so that aerial wolf control would immediately resume despite the fact that no emergency existed. Now they are going to make these programs permanent," continued Kennedy.
Other proposals the board will consider include:
* Classifying brown and black bears as furbearers, allowing them to be trapped and their fur sold;
* Allowing same day airborne hunting and the harvest of females and young bears;
* Extending the grizzly bear hunting season through June 30th;
* Implementing aerial gunning and predator killing plans for GMUs 14B, 16A, 19B, 25D and specific caribou herds;
* Allowing the use of snow machines to pursue wolves and bears; and
* Extending wolf hunting season to May 31.
"The Board of Game initially focused its sights on wolves but now it's clear that killing of brown and black bears is next," said Kennedy.