Murkowski Signs Wildlife Bill
Another bill signed by Murkowski, by Anchorage Republican Sen. Lyda Green, gives the Alaska Board of Game the authority to license designees to control nuisance birds and small mammals.
Green could not be reached for comment, but a sponsor statement on Senate Bill 147 noted: "It creates a process by which individuals can call up Fish and Game, and the department can provide them with the name of a certified person with knowledge of these animals and their behavior patterns, to come and remove them from their premises."
Some animals that could be affected include beaver, porcupine, marmot, weasel, mink, muskrat, coyote, fox, marten, squirrel, marten, woodchuck, otter, lynx, pigeon, woodpeckers, gray jay, ravens, crows, bats, magpie, sea gulls, Canadian geese and snow geese, according to a sponsor statement by Green.
The law takes effect July 2004.
Ryan Scott, a wildlife biologist for the Department of Fish and Game, said the plan to issue licenses still is a work in progress.
He said the department does not have authority to authorize an individual to deal with nuisance wild animals.
Scott said Fish and Game typically responds to calls about wildlife if it poses a threat to public safety.
"Fish and Game gets inundated with calls about nuisance wild animals," Scott said. "We just don't have the manpower to deal with all the calls."
He said the new law would provide an opportunity for a commercial enterprise to address such problems. The bill also allows Fish and Game to charge a $100 fee for commercial licenses and issue free noncommercial licenses.
Wolf Song of Alaska, P.O. Box 671670, Chugiak, Alaska 99567-1670