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Friends of Animals Asks Halt to Wolf Hunt

Warren Williamson / KTUU / Channel 2 / January 27, 2005

Anchorage, Alaska - Friends of Animals, the animal activist group, was in court Thursday to ask a judge to halt the killing of Alaska wolves as part of the state's predator-control program.

Attorneys for the group filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop what is expected to be the elimination of nearly 600 wolves in five areas around the state. At issue, according to Friends of Animals, is that the controlled aerial killing of the wolves is inhumane.

They say the wolves are a valuable resource to the state of Alaska and that moose populations are not in danger as the state suggests.

The state Board of Fish and Game implemented the permit-driven program to assist the growth of moose populations. They say it is strictly regulated in the five areas.

"In your years in Alaska since 1966, have you come to an understanding of who gets to decide the conservation and ethical considerations of controlling Alaska's wolves?" asked Kevin Saxby, an attorney with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

"Well, that's sort of a complex process that involves a lot of things," answered Dr. Gordon Haber, a wildlife biologist. "I don't know what you mean specifically by that, but like much else in science it depends on who makes the best arguments, I guess."

"If we lost the next several months, we would in effect lose this winter, which is the first winter of operations for three of the areas and the second winter for two of them, and that would likely negate any sort of progress towards the management of objectives that have yet been made," said Matthew Rubus of the state Division of Wildlife Conservation.

Fish and Game officials say 86 wolves have been killed this year. Judge Sharon Gleason said she will rule on the preliminary injunction next week.


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