Wolf Song of Alaska News
Bring it On

Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Minber / May 30, 2010

Reader Comments:  http://newsminer.com/view/full_story/7739704/article-Bring-it-on?instance=letters_to_ed

To the editor:

A battle is heating up between the state (Alaska Department of Fish and Game) and the feds (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and Alaskans really need to pay attention to this one.

It involves the Aleutian Island of Unimak, where the locals have seen predators take their only source of red meat (caribou) down to levels and ratios never seen before. This decline is specifically due to the feds’ refusal to allow Fish and Game to do what they do best: manage Alaska’s animals.

The indigenous people of this remote island have written letters to Fish and Game pleading for help with some immediate intensive management programs, something the department is more than qualified to do and more than willing to assist with.

Enter the USFWS, land manager of the refuge area, which obviously cares little that the local caribou population has tanked. (A 75 percent drop in just eight years.) The same bureaucratic agency has stood by and witnessed an astonishing low bull-cow ratio of approximately 5 to 100, numbers never seen before in Alaska, and a ticking biological time bomb, according to just about any educated biologist you might ask.

The feds say they want more time to study this “phenomenon.” Wrong answer. Last week, Fish and Game Commissioner Denby Lloyd wrote a letter to USFWS advising that the state would begin a program to save these caribou babies near the calving grounds around June 1.

The response from the feds? They immediately threatened to sic Obama’s attorney general on the state if it proceeds with this strategic and necessary emergency management plan.

So while Alaskans go hungry, and their caribou population plummets, the feds are telling us to sit idly and watch it happen as they shuffle papers, or we’ll find ourselves in court. I say bring it on!

When the feds start controlling what Alaskans can or cannot put in their freezer for survival, it gets personal real fast. Today it’s Unimak. Tomorrow maybe it’s where you harvest your winter meat. If you care about protecting this resource, let the governor know that you support what Commissioner Lloyd is doing — helping keep Alaska “Alaskan.”

Craig Compeau, Fairbanks


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