Study Other States' Mistakes Before Enacting Wolf Control

Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / December 16, 2003

Recent wolf control policy in Alaska is exposing strong public views toward the need for predators in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Alaska is one of the few places left in America where the natural balance between predator and prey persists. Is this because of good wildlife management? Overabundance of wildlife? No, it's most likely a result of few people spread over a huge landmass. People value Alaska for its wildlife, much as pioneers once valued the American West for its once thought "unlimited wildlife resources." Now throughout the West, populations of predators are dwindling or extinct. This resulted from aggressive hunting, predator control, and negative tinkering of nature.

I urge the Board of Game, governor and all Alaskans to review the history of wildlife in the Lower 48 and see what's become of wild places where wolves once flourished. Alaska is making the same bad wildlife management decisions that historically eliminated many species.

Are non-Alaskans upset with wolf control? Yes, and justifiably so. They weren't given a choice of whether they had wolves in their back yards. They're upset that Alaska still practices wolf population control despite the knowledge we've gained about wolves' importance in ecosystems.

I fear Alaska is favoring short-term benefits of more moose without seeing the long-term negative implications on the environment. When will we learn?

-- Jeff Schively / Girdwood


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