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Scientists Refute Alaska's Board of Game Airborne Wolf Slaughter

Archives (1997) / American Society of Mammalogists / October 24, 2006

This resolution is a dramatic example of how different the conclusions of scientists can be. The following is the result of an objective evaluation designed to maintain and perpetuate a healthy ecosystem related to existing wolf populations. This is totally different than assigning scientists the task of creating an artificially high number of moose and caribou for the short term benefit of primarily urban trophy hunters. At the Alaska Wildlife Alliance we believe that the healthy ecosystem approach to wildlife management serves the best long term interests of Alaska and the nation. We are delighted to herein present the resolution of the over 500 scientists comprising the American Society of Mammalogists. It is printed with permission.

Resolution on the Harvest of Wolves in Alaska

WHEREAS, The American Society of Mammalogists is concerned about the future of mammals worldwide and strongly supports the conservation and responsible use of wild mammals based on sound and accurate scientific knowledge; and,

WHEREAS, we are disturbed by the potential mismanagement of large mammalian carnivores and their ungulate prey in Alaska ; and,

WHEREAS, some new predator-control programs approved by the Alaska Board of Game do not meet scientific standards required for the sound management of these valuable natural resources; and,

WHEREAS, for most of the State, no biologically sound plans document the current status of predator and prey populations to adequately monitor the effectiveness of predator control; and,

WHEREAS, sufficient data do not exist for adaptive management as recommended by the biological standards and guidelines set forth by the National Research Council of the National Academies (National Research Council 1997) for monitoring the effectiveness of predator-control programs in Alaska; and,

WHEREAS, the Alaskan environment has changed over time, making it unlikely that historical population estimates accurately reflect current population trends; and,

WHEREAS, the Alaskan environment may no longer support historical densities of prey species, and current reliable estimates of ungulate populations and carrying capacities of their habitats are required for sound management, rather than relying on historical population estimates as the basis for harvest; and,

WHEREAS, management in the absence of adequate data cannot be scientifically justified or considered sound or wise.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Society of Mammalogists, meeting at their 86 th Annual Meeting at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts on 16?21 June 2006, calls upon the Governor of Alaska and the Alaska Board of Game to collect reliable data on populations of large carnivores and ungulates, and to work closely with professional wildlife biologists to ensure the sound design of predator-control programs. We further recommend that assessment of predator control be conducted with approaches of sufficient scope, duration, and spatial scale to implement adaptive-management practices that will ensure the conservation of the Alaskan ecosystem and its unique mammalian fauna.

Literature Cited ...

National Research Council. 1997. Wolves, bears, and their prey in Alaska : Biological and social challenges in wildlife management. National Academy Press, Washington , DC .

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