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Ride-Around-Outdoors Alaskans Don't See Wildlife is Disappearing

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / March 7, 2007

Predator control is the last "surge" of Alaska wildlife resource extraction. The state-sponsored slaughter of wolves and bears is not about "the right to feed oneself" ("This debate is not about Yogi Bear," David Otness, Compass, Feb. 27). Raising "emotion higher than facts" himself, Mr. Otness says killing wolves and bears is about "the sustenance of our lives." But subsistence is a distraction from wildlife extraction. The Alaska State Division of Over-hunting allowed moose to be over-harvested to emergency levels -- wiping out subsistence for recreational greed.

The $6,000 "food value" of a Bethel moose is bull -- there's the cost of guides, boats, aircraft, four-wheelers, six-wheelers and snowmachines, the Hondas of harvest and the Cessnas of subsistence. Wild Alaska is a playground for expensive mechanical toys -- the real subsistence economy.

Ride-around-outdoors Alaskans don't seem to notice that all wildlife is disappearing. In touch only with padded seats, hunters want it both ways: abundance during hunting season and emergency to slaughter wolves and bears. Wildlife is being cleansed from Alaska. That's why trappers are trapping the fringes of Denali National Park and guides want to guide affluent clients to harvest McNeil River brown bears. Each dead McNeil River bear is worth thousands of dollars to a guide. Those who wish to view wildlife should do so now.

---- Rudy Wittshirk / Willow

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