ANCHORAGE, ALASKA - Defenders of Wildlife is urging state legislators to vote against House Bill 256, which would once again subvert the will of Alaskans who twice voted to restrict the aerial hunting of wolves. The bill would instead allow the Board of Game to move even further away from science-based wildlife management.
The legislation would also allow for the first time the aerial and same-day airborne hunting of brown bears as part of a predator control program. The bill passed through the House Resources Committee today by a vote of 8 to 1.
"This bill will damage the credibility of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game by forcing it to implement predator extermination plans that lack sound scientific backing," commented Defenders of Wildlife Alaska representative, Tom Banks.
This bill weakens the Intensive Management law, making it easier for the Board of Game to approve predator extermination plans. It eliminates the requirement that the state develop a Game Management Plan and frees the Board of Game to implement predator control programs, regardless of whether wolves or bears are affecting game populations. The board has already approved five predator control programs that have resulted in the aerial killing of nearly 700 wolves.
HB 256 will next be considered by the House Judiciary Committee. A senate companion bill was also introduced last spring and will be considered by the Senate Resources, Judiciary and Finance committees.
Contact: Tom Banks / Defenders of Wildlife / 907-276-9410