Wolf Song of Alaska News

Benefits of Aerial Wolf Hunting are Based on Shaky Science

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / June 23, 2008

Alaska's aerial wolf hunting program is controversial because it is extremely costly (over $1 million per year is spent to sustain this program), the benefit is mostly to urban and out-of-state hunters, and it's based on shaky science (wolves are routinely blamed for low numbers of moose, even though human hunting, predation by bears, cold and snowy winters and lack of vegetation are important factors).

The notion that 1,400 moose are "saved" as a result of killing 124 wolves from the air is overly simplistic and inaccurate. Many moose that wolves eat would have died during the winter due to natural attrition; the effect on the moose population is much less than is stated. With about 10,000 wolves, 175,000 moose and 1 million caribou living in the state, these animals have worked out their own balance. We ought to think carefully before subjecting vast areas of the state to an 80 percent reduction of the wolf population. Alaskans have voted twice against aerial hunting. We will be able to once again voice our thoughts in August when we go to the polls.

-- Tom Banks

Defenders of Wildlife

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