Wolf Song of Alaska News

Wolf-Control Program Legal Again, State Says

The Associated Press / Anchorage Daily News / March 25, 2008

The Alaska Board of Game held an emergency meeting Friday to address the problems.

The board made the necessary changes to parts of two predator-control plans that were added to the original control areas in 2006. It was the expansion of the program, in part, that prompted a lawsuit by several groups opposed to the killing of wolves.

Cathie Harms, spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks, says the problems have been fixed and the programs are active again.

The two areas where the extensions occurred were in the Fortymile region between the Taylor and Steese highways north and east of Fairbanks and Unit 16A, across Cook Inlet from Anchorage.

The state has approved aerial predator control in five areas of Alaska to boost moose and caribou numbers. So far this winter, pilot-gunner teams have reported taking 81 wolves in the five control areas. The program will be suspended when weather conditions deteriorate to the point where tracking wolves becomes too difficult.

Priscilla Feral, executive director for Friends of Animals - one of three groups that filed a lawsuit to halt the program - called the action a sham.

"When the courts have ruled that the state's aerial wolf-shooting schemes are breaking the law, within days, the Board of Game concocts new rules.

"Clearly, they make stuff up, their process is a sham and they just want to shoot wolves everywhere in Alaska. This is an abuse of power," Feral said in an e-mail.

Superior Court Judge William F. Morse found that the program was legal, apart from the two areas where it was extended without first providing required information.

Under the aerial wolf-control program, now in its fifth year, more than 700 wolves have been killed.

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