Proposed Wolf Control Programs Reflect Poor Science and Poor Policy

Anchorage Daily News / Letters to the Editor / May 10, 2003


Two bills before the Legislature seek to initiate a pre-emptive strike on Alaska's wolves. Sen. Ralph Seekins and Rep. Bud Fate, both from Fairbanks, seek to allow airborne shooting of wolves by the public, something Alaska voters have voted twice to ban.

One of the bills, SB 155, would permit the Board of Game to authorize same-day airborne predator control programs without the backing of the governor or the Department of Fish and Game. The Board of Game would have complete discretion as to who conducts predator control programs and when. This means The Board of Game can authorize any yokel with a Super Cub and a rifle to play target practice with Alaska's wildlife. Both bills allow for predator control as a pre-emptive measure -- even if moose and caribou populations are stable or increasing.

The fundamental basis for all of Alaska's predator control programs in the past has been to correct a low or declining prey population. To begin predator control when prey populations are abundant or healthy and before there is a problem is biologically and scientifically unsound and is just poor public policy. Yet these shortsighted proposals are being pushed through the Legislature. Call or e-mail your legislators demanding that they reject these bills.

-- Theo W. Saner / Anchorage

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