Former Gov. Sarah Palin warned of attacks on Alaska's predator control policy in her farewell speech. (File/KTUU-DT) Former Gov. Sarah Palin warned of attacks on Alaska's predator control policy in her farewell speech. (File/KTUU-DT)
Palin obliquely referenced Ashley Judd and a commercial she did attacking the program. (Courtesy Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund)
Gov. Sean Parnell has said his predator control policy will not change. (File/KTUU-DT)
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Conservation groups are hoping a change in leadership in the governor's office will mean a change in policy when it comes to predator control.
Defenders of Wildlife is asking Gov. Sean Parnell to set a new course on the practice of killing wolves and bears to boost moose and caribou numbers -- this as federal legislation gains momentum that would do away with Alaska's program as we know it.
"We're hopeful that Governor Parnell will let all Alaskans to speak to their concerns and their hope that our wildlife resources will be managed based on scientific principles," said Wade Willis, Alaska representative for Defenders of Wildlife.
The group is no fan of former Gov. Sarah Palin. It says her continuation of predecessor Frank Murkowski's policies led to the killing of more than 1,000 wolves and 600 bears.
The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund is the group that recruited actress Ashley Judd to take on Palin in a public campaign.
When Palin left office late last month she warned her supporters of more attempts to restrict predator control, taking a swipe at "celebrity starlets" in the process.
Now the man who once served under Palin says his predator management policy won't change.
"I think our intensive game management program is based on science, it goes through a rigorous public process, and that's something I leave to the experts and I want to continue," Parnell said. "I think it's important for the sake of food for our residents."
Meanwhile legislation is working its way through both houses of Congress to limit Alaska's program. It would require only federal or state biologists to engage in aerial hunting, and only during a biological emergency.
The law is sponsored by California lawmakers, and the House version saw 105 congressmen sign on in support.
"There has to be a biological need, not just trying to artificially inflate big game species that are already healthy, but to use predator control as a last ditch effort," Willis said.
Parnell says he is prepared to fight the bill, but he is willing to listen to Defenders of Wildlife -- he even called them on the phone, which is further than the group got with Palin.
But aside from a softened approach, the Parnell policy will remain the same.
Contact Jason Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org