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Mowry and Wolves

Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / March 16, 2005

To the Editor:

The News-Miner has compromised itself yet again by allowing Tim Mowry to print an intentionally misleading, biased column, "The Toklat wolves are not the Waltons."

I expect a one-sided opinion in the editorials that espouse the individual's point of view; however, allowing Mr. Mowry to attack a professional scientist without the individual's opportunity for rebuttal crosses the line of decency and respect. Furthermore, the public expects the truth, even in an unbalanced medium such as Mr. Mowry's column.
Dr. Gordon Haber is an expert in the field of wolf research and has been studying the Toklat wolves and other groups throughout Alaska since 1966. Interviewing a layman, Coke Wallace in this case, and printing his opinions is like asking the busboy how to bake a soufflé when a master chef is in the next room. Spending time on a snowmachine trapping and shooting wildlife hardly makes one an expert on wolf behavior. However, obtaining a Ph.D. and devoting one's life to the research and study of wolves does. Mr. Mowry interviewed the wrong guy.

As for Wallace's opinions on the Toklat alpha female being "chow for the rest of the pack," I suggest reading Haber's research on established wolf family groups, which will allow Mr. Mowry to write with factual authority instead of the uneducated opinions of himself and a trapper. Dr. Haber has more observations and data on park wolves than the Park Service itself. There is no published literature to support any of Coke Wallace's ludicrous claims.

Tim Mowry is right on one thing: The Toklat family of wolves are not the Waltons; they are much more precious. The Toklats have been providing a steady stream of information as one of the longest-studied groups of any non-human species on the planet.

So you see, Mr. Mowry, the Toklats are far from "just another wolf pack in Alaska" as you call them. It's a travesty that they continue to be tortured by zealots who set their traps within feet of our national park boundary.

Troy Dunn / North Pole


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