|To the editor:
The article noting the arrest of big game guide Fred E. Sims for 30 wildlife violations highlights a problem poorly addressed (if at all) by Govs. Murkowski, Palin and now, Parnell. In their haste to wage war on wolves they have ignored by far the worst predator: humans.
The Wildlife Enforcement division of the Alaska State Troopers has fewer than 65 officers to patrol all of Alaska. While this investigation shows they are doing their best, it also suggests they are terribly understaffed and underfunded.
One has to wonder why, in the face of growing concerns about the health of our wildlife, has this division and issue received so little attention. Big game guides often are the first to call for predator control, but one never hears of similar calls for beefing up the enforcement efforts.
This incident is a small tip of a large iceberg. In a state where the motto among certain factions is “shoot, shovel and shut up,” you have to wonder how much impact poaching has on our wildlife populations. When 18 moose can be killed so bears attracted to the carcasses can also be killed, it becomes an issue worthy of considerable attention.
Yet, it receives so little. Rural residents often complain of competition against the urban hunters and the guided hunts. Incidents like these bring home that message all the more.
One wonders how someone firing from a plane could be overlooked but since the state has worked so hard under these three governors to make aerial hunting a common event, it can be understood.
It’s a tragedy one person could be responsible for the loss of so much Alaska wildlife. But, anymore, the same can be said of Sean Parnell and the Palin legacy he has continued.
John Toppenberg, Director, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Anchorage
Wolf Song of Alaska
P.O. Box 770950
Eagle River AK 99577-0950
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