Judge Refuses to Reconsider Wolf Ruling

The Associated Press / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / December 12, 2003

ANCHORAGE--A Superior Court judge has denied an animal welfare group's motion to reconsider her decision allowing the state's predator control program to shoot wolves from airplanes to proceed.

Judge Sharon L. Gleason denied the motion by the Darien, Conn.-based Friends of Animals on Wednesday.

"This is a good ruling that will allow the Department of Fish and Game to proceed with a responsible and sorely needed wildlife management program," state Attorney General Gregg Renkes said.

The state wants to kill wolves in a 1,700-square-mile area near the Interior town of McGrath, where residents have complained that bears and wolves are eating too many moose. McGrath is off the road system and the nearest large supermarkets are 300 air miles away.

The predator control program began in the spring with the relocation of 75 black bears and eight grizzlies. State wildlife biologists say the relocation effort boosted the summer moose calf survival rate 20 percent.

The next phase of the program calls for killing about 40 wolves this winter, a time when moose calves are most vulnerable to being eaten by wolves.

Friends of Animals is working on some other options, although Priscilla Feral, president of the group, said Thursday she wasn't prepared to say what they are, she said.

"It's not over yet," she said.

The 200,000-member group already is organizing via the Internet an Alaska tourist boycott with plans for protest "howl-ins" on Dec. 27-28 in New York; San Francisco; Sacramento; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Lansing, Mich.

Tourism is a nearly $2 billion business in Alaska.


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