Wolf Song of Alaska News

Natural Balance

Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / October 19 2007

To the Editor:

Ed Linkous' letter (Common Sense, Oct. 16) attempts to rebut a statement made by John Toppenberg of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance regarding natural balance. While Linkhous claims there is no such thing in nature as balance he is oddly comfortable invoking a "balanced environment" two paragraphs later.

Linkhous seems unfamiliar with the concept of a general balance through time that definitely arises in nature. When a predator population grows too large, the prey population may drop with a consequent drop in predators. But let the prey population grow too large and overgrazing occurs with a subsequent increase in mortality of both newborn and overwintering animals. Disease can also flourish when there is an overabundance of prey.

In these regards, predators are very important to the overall health of the prey population. This is a natural balance that occurs over time. At any given point, there may be a skew one way or the other but overall it balances. As a longtime student of mammalian paleontology here in the Interior and one who has collected and donated many, many fossils to the UA museum I can attest to the bounty that once existed even though there was also a greater diversity of predators.

Linkhous' letter seems more character assassination than fact. Knowing John for several years I can attest to his conviction which comes from his heart not his wallet.

Such inaccuracy as we see in Linkhous' letter has also cropped up in a recent News-Miner editorial concerning aerial predator killing.

Said editorial carefully avoided mentioning how both times Alaskans have had a chance to vote on aerial predator hunts they have banned them. The editorial also neglected mentioning a recent letter to Gov. Palin signed by 200 wildlife professionals in Alaska and across our nation stating there is no justification for this practice she is now promoting with a $400,000 propaganda effort. She is pushing it down our throats even as she cuts our children's education funds.

The News-Miner, like Gov. Palin, seems to feel that $400K is better spent on influencing an election than on educating Alaska's children.

Art Greenwalt

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