Judge OKs Plan to Kill Wolves

Breaking News / Anchorage Daily News / December 5, 2003

An Anchorage judge has given the green light to a state plan to kill some three dozen wolves around McGrath.

In a 14-page ruling issued early Friday afternoon in Anchorage, Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason found no legal justification to postpone the aerial wolf-control plan. State biologists believe that eliminating the predators will allow the local moose herd to grow, eventually providing more meat for subsistence hunters.

A national animal rights group and seven Alaska residents had sued, claiming the state had not met legal requirements to approve the plan.

They contend the moose herd is big enough for local needs.

Alaska Board of Game chairman Mike Fleagle said the ruling vindicates the state and could portend a new era in which small numbers of wolves are killed to help buoy moose and caribou populations.

"I think the public knows we're not in danger of losing our wolf population," said Fleagle, a McGrath resident.

The state has already issued permits to three pilot/gunner teams to shoot the wolves from their airplanes. Their only compensation will be the wolves they shoot.


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