Wolf Song of Alaska News

Wolf Factors

Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / August 21, 2008

To the editor:

For the fifth time this week, I have received a flyer in the mail from Alaskans for Professional Game Management, depicting what at first glance appears to be a vicious wolf attacking a chipper sled dog.

Included are bone-chilling accounts from "victims" of wolf attacks, as well as pictures of bloodied and snarling wolves, obviously meant to provoke emotions of fear. But look closely at the front of the flyer - it's actually two sled dogs playing; they also are wearing matching red collars. This portrayal of wolves as blood-thirsty killers is just ignorant. Do the folks over at Alaskans for Professional Game Management think everyone is easily duped by the use of strong images and weak language?

Fish and Game already has the authority to remove/destroy "problem" or "habituated" animals from residential areas. Wolf attacks on dogs can be attributed primarily to poor prey years, encroachment of habitat, or long cold snaps. I would hope that those living in Alaska, especially in rural areas that could be classified as "wolf county" would be clever enough to know and accept the risks of rural life, and it's not as if game managers in helicopters will be patrolling neighborhoods looking for errant wolves terrorizing dogs. Wolves are powerful and astonishing animals, and they are part of the ecosystem in Alaska; removing wolves does not guarantee higher moose population. Like any other population, moose are controlled by quality and availability of nutritional intake, snowfall, temperatures, population density, as well as predation and harvest. But you cannot blame wolves for a drop in birth weight or low birth rates. Wildlife populations are dependent on too many factors to assume that eliminating one will serve to achieve a stable population.

Trista Saunders, Fairbanks

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