Letters / Anchorage Daily News / February 22, 2005
I have considered Vic Van Ballenberghe to be probably the most credible opponent to active predator management in Alaska because of his strong scientific justification for his opinions. Unlike other wildlife advocates in this state, he generally comes across as rational and reasonably fair. That is, until now ("Burning of bear-viewing area was payback for earlier defeats").
In his letter Feb. 2, he claims that current wolf control efforts are a "bold effort to pay back and punish those who successfully blocked most wolf control efforts" during past administrations. This statement is far from the truth, as I can attest to, having been actively involved in the long battle to resume active predator management in this state.
The truth is, under past administrations, game management had all but come to a dead stop. The Board of Game and the Department of Fish and Game are simply trying to fairly allocate a dwindling supply of big game ungulates between many differing user groups, including subsistence.
State law requires that these populations be managed for high levels of human harvest and authorizes predator management. As past control efforts have proven, moose populations can be enhanced by actively managing predator numbers.
Current control efforts attempt to halt the decline of moose populations and return them to healthier levels. The inaction of past administrations has caused the crash of these moose populations, and there is a lot of rebuilding to do.
Mike Fleagle / Anchorage
Editor's note: The writer is chairman of the Board of Game.
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