Aerial Wolf Hunting Grounded Temporarily

Ben Deci / KTVA / Channel 11 / November 26, 2003

A plan that would open up land around McGrath to aerial wolf hunting has hit a snag. The plan was approved by the Alaska Board of Game at the beginning of the month, but put on hold by a Superior Court Judge in Anchorage on Wednesday.

The name plaintiff in this legal challenge is from out of state; an animal rights group called Friends of Animals based in Connecticut. They also had seven Alaskan plaintiffs standing with them in while they pursued this temporary restraining order. A lot of the campaigning against the aerial wolf kill has gone on nationwide. Environmentalist groups have circulated a petition to all fifty states denouncing wolf hunting by plane.

Meanwhile, hunters in Alaska are saying they need to thin wolf packs. They say that they are competing with the wolves for moose meat, and there's just not enough to go around.

The Alaska Board of Game had already issued permits to three pilot-hunter teams for aerial wolf hunting. But now, they've been grounded, thanks to a temporary restraining order issued by Judge Sharon Gleason. In her decision, Gleason said that the plan to kill 40 to 45 wolves would have a serious and long-term impact on the wolf population. And she said that is, in fact, what the Board of game intended.
Today Gleason issued a temporary restraining order. The issue will be revisited early next week. Friends of Animals and the Board of Game will have a chance to argue their points-of-view in front of Gleason. She can either throw the complaint out, or she can then issue a permanent injunction against the aerial wolf kill.
If Friends of Animals can't defeat the plan in court, they are vowing to go for the pocket-book. The organization's president Priscilla Feral has threatened to sponsor a tourism boycott of Alaska if aerial wolf hunting is allowed to go ahead

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