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Help the McNeil Bear Sanctuary off linmits to hunting

 

Governor Sarah Palin Ignores Calls for Board of Game to Represent Diverse Wildlife Interests

Non-consumptive and wildlife watching interests left out in cold

Wade Willis / Defenders of Wildlife / February 5, 2009

Anchorage, AK - Governor Palin has announced two appointments to the Board of Game.

Teresa Sager-Albaugh, a past president of the Alaska Outdoor Council, which has strong ties to the commercial hunting industry, and Cliff Judkins, the current chairman of the Board of Game. Preceding these latest appointments, there was broad public and industry requests for increased diversity on the Board of Game so interest beyond the hunting community would be adequately represented.  These requests came from twelve former Board of Game members, the tourism industry, the conservation community, and the Alaska Daily News, to name just a few.

"Alaska wildlife should be managed for the benefit of all Alaskans, not only the minority of us who hunt," said Wade Willis, Alaska Representative from Defenders of Wildlife.  "Despite repeated appeals from her constituents, Governor Palin did nothing to improve the Board of Game's diversity of views with these appointments.  We only want all views to be represented; is that too much to ask?"

Governor Palin has ignored repeated requests for diversity of representation, instead choosing to appoint a representative from the hunting and trapping community as the only new member to the Board of Game. Last year when Governor Palin initially appointed Teresa Sager-Albaugh, she was originally intended to replace the only native representative on the Board of Game. Administrations prior to Governor Murkowski and Governor Palin made it a priority to diversify the Board of Game by appointing members from other user groups, including the non-consumptive community and tourism industries, which is reeling from the effects of the economic downturn and continues to have no representation on a Board whose decisions have a dramatic effect on the industry.

"Diversifying representation on the Board of Game would add essential knowledge and understanding of issues other than hunting and trapping to a key decision-making body in the state. Unfortunately, Teresa Sager-Albaugh, lacks the experience and knowledge to represent the broad interests of Alaska's citizens and tourism industry. Similarly, Cliff Judkins is an ardent supporter of controversial hunting and trapping methods and under his watch the Board has continued to cling to draconian wildlife management techniques and refused to consider dealing with other causes of declines in game herds besides predators.

"The state constitution mandates that the Board of Game represent all Alaskans; now, more than ever, it is essential that the legislature uphold the constitution and demand that Governor Palin appoint diverse representatives to the Board of Game," said Willis.

Wade Willis  
Alaska Representative
Defenders of Wildlife       

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