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Help the McNeil Bear Sanctuary off linmits to hunting

Board of Game Needs Better Management

Letters / Juneau Empire / April 9, 2009

During the recent meeting in Anchorage, the Board of Game demonstrated that it needs to be managed with intensive restraint. The degree of this restraint should equal the degree to which the board is authorizing predator control management in Alaska.

The Board of Game authorized previously illegal methods to kill black bear and orphaned wolf pups. Black bear "ground and bait snaring" was approved in an area northwest of the Cook Inlet. The snaring of brown bear also will apply in the McGrath area. In addition, gas poisoning of orphaned wolf pups in their dens has been approved. This poisoning will be facilitated by state employees, which is unprecedented. These methods will be implemented to boost moose and caribou populations.

Many Alaskans believe these practices are ill-conceived attempts by the Board of Game to simulate a moose and caribou ranching approach in Alaska. The National Research Council and the American Society of Mammalogists have expressed strong concerns that Alaska's predator control programs are not based on science.

In 2008, the Palin administration appropriated $400,000 of state funding to "educate" Alaskans about the benefits of intensive predator control management. That effort occurred during an election year when an initiative to ban unscientifically-based predator control programs was on the ballot. Many Alaskans saw through this political ploy. This misuse of state funds is another example of the disparate methods that the Board of Game is willing to resort to just to convince us that it's a good thing to artificially inflate prey populations.

It's time for Alaskans to intensify their management of the Board of Game by demanding that wildlife be managed scientifically, and that such management be implemented humanely and ethically. Begin your management efforts by participating in Board of Game meetings, and by contacting the board at 465-4110 or the governor's office at 465-3500.

Jenny Pursell

Juneau

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