Wolf Song of Alaska News

Killing Wolf Pups in Dens is Illegal

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / July 28, 2008

A recent Daily News story has indicated that the state has lowered itself to the point of killing wolf pups in their dens in an effort to boost the caribou population near the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge ("Wildlife biologists kill 14 wolf pups on Alaska Peninsula," July 20).

Its position on this new development in the aerial predator control program, as stated by Doug Larsen, director of the state Department of Fish and Game's Division of Wildlife Conservation, is "when you have a specific objective ... sometimes you have to do things that you don't like."

Having a sustainable prey population for subsistence purposes makes sense. But why would the state, which previously claimed that they disapprove of killing young animals, kill 14 pups at their den sites and report them as if they were among the adult wolves killed by helicopter? Sure, "sometimes you have to do things you don't like," but this should not include lying to the public and breaking the law.

"Denning," the killing of wolf young in the den, is prohibited by state law (5AAC 92.110(i)). Maybe this is why they made no mention of the pup kills in their June 30 report.

This is not the way a responsible government operates, nor is it going to win the hearts of Alaskans. You'd imagine the Department of Fish and Game would know that by now.

-- Michael Murali

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