Anchorage, AK - Today Defenders of Wildlife, the Alaska Wildlife Alliance and the Alaska Chapter of the Sierra Club asked the Alaska Superior Court to shut down Governor Palin's $150-per-wolf bounty program citing the fact that Alaska's bounty laws were repealed in 1984 and the State has no current legal authority to implement the bounties.
"The Governor is overstepping her legal authority by offering cash payments for each wolf killed by aerial gunners," stated Tom Banks, Defenders of Wildlife's Alaska Associate. "That's a bounty by anyone's standards regardless of what they call it."
Hoping to boost the number of wolves killed this year by permitees, Palin announced the state would pay $150 for each kill. According to an Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) news release, the bounty was instituted to "motivate permittees to redouble their efforts and to help offset the high cost of aviation fuel, ADF&G will offer cash payments to those who return biological specimens to the department." The state's press release, issued last Wednesday, indicates that "Permittees will be paid $150 when they bring in the left forelegs of wolves taken from any of several designated control areas."
"Governor Palin needs to take a close look at wildlife management practice in her state and restore the use of sound science," concludes Banks. "She said would heed the will of the public, but it's increasingly clear she's only listening to that segment that is willing to sacrifice Alaska's natural heritage for the benefit of a few."
The judge is expected to make a decision fairly quickly.
Defenders and the co-plaintiffs expressed an additional concern that the bounty offered by the State will encourage the illegal killing of wolves outside the control area.
Defenders of Wildlife is represented by Mike Frank of Trustees for Alaska, a public interest law firm, and Valerie Brown, an Anchorage attorney in private practice.
Contact: Tom Banks, (907) 276-9453 Ext 1