Wolf Song of Alaska News

Wildlife Management Needs Better Planning

Opinion / Peninsula Clarion / July 29, 2008

The Alaska Board of Game and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are the responsible parties for the authorization of and shooting of 14 wolf pups this past June. Their plan was to kill wolves from three different packs on the southern Alaska Peninsula because of decreasing caribou populations in the area.

The department killed a total of 28 wolves. Fourteen were adults killed by gunners in helicopters and 14 were pups, 4 weeks old, which were shot at point blank range in the head.

The biologists who shot the pups thought that it was the most humane thing to do since they had just killed their mothers and other pack members who were essential for their survival. The biologists thought that it would be inhumane to leave the pups in the field to fend for themselves and believed that zoo adoption was not an option.

Doug Larsen, the director of the state Division of Wildlife Conservation stated, "Nobody likes to go out and kill critters, particularly when they're young of the year, but when you have a specific objective, sometimes you have to do things that you don't like." (Juneau Empire, July 21)

Our Department of Fish and Game is shameless in their inexcusable action. It is my strong opinion that wolves should never be shot and killed during pupping season which commonly begins in May and June.

The gunner biologists in the helicopters were well aware that it was pupping season. That fact alone should pre-empt any killing of wolf packs during that period of time.

The department was dead wrong to institute this carnage knowing full well that vulnerable pups were likely to be about.

Are other wild baby animals living in Alaska also at risk for such cold-blooded actions and knee-jerk decisions?

Many Alaskans are sickened by these management practices; which is all the more reason to vote "Yes " on Initiative 2 on Aug. 26. Shooting 5-week-old wolf pups in the head is not how our valuable Alaska wildlife resources should be managed.

Jenny Pursell

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