Wolf Song of Alaska News

If We Can't see or Count Wolverines, How Do We Know How Many to Kill?

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / April 11, 2007

Although I've seen five free-roaming wolverines during my lifetime, I feel terribly inadequate when it comes to formulating an opinion on the merits of allowing a couple of trappers to remove them from Chugach State Park, Anchorage's coveted playground. I have a few fundamental questions, and maybe you experts out there can help me.

* Has there been any interface between park administrators and the park's advisory committee and the Department of Fish and Game in respect to the Game Board's determination to kill wolverines (and lynx) so near the most populous and intensively visited place in the state?

* If we human beings can't see or count wolverines, how do we go about managing them and, more importantly, regulate the killing of them on a sustained-yield basis so as to be in compliance with a constitutional mandate?

* If the Alaska Department of Fish and Game manages game resources and the Game Board regulates a harvest thereof, explain the justification for having a department if indeed its position on such a vital issue is blatantly invalidated?

Perhaps former Gov. Frank Murkowski's functionaries should focus their attention on other places, like the North Slope and Northwest Alaska, where this fur bearer, a wilderness icon, is being pressed into oblivion.

---- Dick Hensel / Anchorage / Former state and federal biologist, Game Board member

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