ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A judge today (Friday) invalidated the aerial killing of wolves in several small areas of Alaska while issuing a ruling upholding the state predator control program.
Superior Court Judge William F. Morse issued a lengthy ruling that took a look at the state's wolf control program, now operating in five areas of Alaska.
The program is being challenged by Friends of Animals, Defenders of Wildlife and the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.
The groups filed the lawsuit against the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Board of Game in 2006 in hopes of ending the aerial wolf control program.
Alaska is divided up into 26 game management units. The lawsuit challenged the program in areas where it is authorized.
Friends of Animals lawyer Michael Grisham says the judge found the program was valid in five areas, but failed to meet requirements in three others. Those areas are game units across Cook Inlet from Anchorage and two near Fairbanks.
The areas where the judge found it wanting were where the game board decided to extend it last year. Grisham said the board lumped together several new areas for predator control without making any new findings on the wolves, caribou and bears in those areas.
Board Game Chairman Cliff Judkins said the problems can be corrected through emergency regulation, something that will probably occur next week.
Correction: The judge cancelled the aerial wolf control program in four, not three regions.
Clarification: The regions where the predator control programs are stopped are 16A, 20A, 20D and 25 C.