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Wildlife Abusers

Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / March 24, 2005

To the Editor:

The latest outpouring of anti-wolf, pro-trapping letters begs rebuttal and a return to accuracy.

Mr. Compeau's letter dripping with schoolboy bravado tells Priscilla Feral to leave aerial hunting alone while ignoring how twice a majority of Alaska voters agreed with her, disagreed with him.

Mr. Caress' letter, soggy with crocodile tears over how wolves kill caribou, claims 25 years outdoors experience. But apparently he still doesn't understand wolves have only teeth to use and can't buy guns.

As for Coke Wallace, recreational trapper (i.e., kills for enjoyment), he set about destroying one of the best-known packs in Alaska. It didn't matter the classic Murie wildlife study, "The Wolves of Mount McKinley," is based on this pack or that it's one of the most widely viewed in the world next to the Headquarters pack (also decimated by trapping). A guide, he is accustomed to selling our wildlife to the highest bidder to kill, and his trapping reflects that. His attitude, supported by other correspondents, is that they are just another wolf pack. I guess to these folks, Denali is just another pile of rocks, the Mona Lisa just another painting.

Well, the facts are simple. Most Alaskans disapprove of aerial hunting. Statistics are scarce, but the little evidence available suggests the incidental kill rate of moose and caribou by snares is significant.

Sentenced by the tightened cable to a slow death of pain and starvation, the effects on their populations can't be ignored. Tim Mowry tries to sanitize what trappers such as Wallace do, but in the end we are all diminished by their cold-blooded inhumanity. His words are but a hollow wind against Dr. Haber's 40-plus years of field experience. Most trappers, and certainly Tim, haven't anywhere near that time (Fish and Game data shows the average trapper is 47 years old).

Finally, a recent letter extols trappers as "users" of wildlife. Ms. Bryant, its author, almost has it right. For as I looked at the Heartland photos of a frozen lynx, trapped, and a snared moose, as I thought about Coke Wallace, I realized the true word is not users but abusers.

Art Greenwalt / Fairbanks
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